Thousands of commuters in Khulna have been hit, with buses staying off the roads since Friday morning in the wake of a two-day strike called by bus-minibus owners and workers.
Khulna Bus-Minibus Owners' Association and the Motor Workers’ Union decided to go on the strike in protest against the plying of unauthorised three-wheelers in the district.
Since morning, not a single bus left or entered Khulna as the strike was called on all the 18 routes of the division.
In many areas, UNB found people waiting on the roads, desperately looking to hail some public transport to reach their respective destinations.
Satkhira-bound passenger Aklima Hossain, who works for a private firm in Khulna and heads home every weekend, said, “Today, I don't think I will be able to go back home due to the strike. My mother will be waiting."
Many Jashore-bound passengers had to return from Sonadanga bus stop in Khulna as no bus left since morning.
Sanatan Roy, one of the aggrieved passengers, said that he had to shelve a plan to attend a wedding in Jashore due to the strike.
On October 19, Khulna Bus-Minibus Owners' Association, in the presence of the Motor Workers’ Union leaders, announced their decision to go on the strike on October 21 and 22.
The union leaders had said that the strike would be to protest against the movement of unauthorised three-wheelers, locally known as Nasiman, Kariman and Bhatbhati.
Their another demand included the shutting of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) bus counters at every nook and corner of the district.
However, BNP leaders claimed that the bus strike was called to create an artificial crisis to obstruct their mass rally in Khulna slated for Saturday.
SM Shafiqul islam Mona, BNP’s Khulna metropolitan unit convener, said the strike was called so that opposition leaders and activists couldn't join the mass divisional rally on Saturday.
“But our rally will succeed in defying all obstructions and the mass rally at Sonali Bank Chattar on Saturday will turn into a sea of people,” he said.
BNP divisional co-organising secretary Jayanta Kumar Kundu said that activists from different districts, including Magura, have already reached Khulna and the mass rally will be successful.