Faridpur district bus workers and owners have said they will go on a 38-hour long strike from November 11 if their 'demands' are not met - the fifth iteration of a playbook the public knows all too well by now.
It almost goes without saying that the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party's next divisional rally - the sixth since October 12 - is set to be held in Faridpur next Saturday, November 12. Although if the previous five are any indication, it might take up the entire weekend.
A letter signed by Golam Nasir, general secretary of the district's owners and workers' joint council, was sent to Dhaka Divisional Commissioner seeking ban on movement of illegal three-wheelers and battery-driven autorickshaws on highways by November 10.
Otherwise, they said they would embark on the strike from 6am on November 11 to 8pm on November 12.
Evidently the Faridpur transport sector stakeholders have studied the trends from the previous rallies, and noted that 8pm on the day of the rally (Saturday) is a good time to resume services, instead of losing even more business and customers.
None of the associations that have been engaged in this till now - representing the owners, workers of Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal and Rangpur - was able to successfully pre-announce such an early resumption of services, which would be right as the BNP rally is scheduled to end, or may be expected to end.
During the strike, no regional, long haul buses or mini buses will leave Faridpur district bus terminal, they said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Hakim, general secretary of Faridpur Mahendra (three-wheeler) workers' association told UNB that their vehicles do not even ply all over highways, rather they use only the portion they need to enter the feeder roads.
“Why are bus owners suddenly making this demand to suspend three-wheelers? We don’t understand. We are poor people and don’t get their politics behind their demand,” he said.
Md Milon Bepari, general secretary of the Faridpur district microbus workers' association, said they haven't received any notice of any strike. As of now, they plan to stay on the road both November 11 and 12, campaigning hard somewhere or the other.
Shama Obayed, BNP central committee member and coordinator of the Faridpur rally, said they knew from earlier experiences that such strikes would be coming alright. It's coming big-time. be announced and made preparations accordingly.
“People will join the rally by trawlers, by raft or even on foot from miles away, if needed,” Shama
assured journalists, sounding as confident as one can feel.