Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Sunday raised a question in parliament whether “government authorities” have made any ‘entente’ with transport sector leaders.
“The reports on charging extra fares, harassing passengers and various irregularities in the transport sector are regularly run by the media… who’s actually controlling the transport sector--the government or the transport owners, or the workers--?” he questioned.
While delivering the valedictory speech in the 15th session of the 11th parliament, the Jatiya Party chief also wanted to know, “Who are working to protect the interests of people in an important sector like transport? Is there any entente between the government authorities and the leaders of this sector? Many people make such an allegation.”
GM Quader, also Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, was seen smiling while raising the question standing beside his party MP Moshiur Rahman Ranga, president of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners 'Association.
He said it is only natural that transport owners may demand an increase in bus fares due to the rise in fuel prices but people were subjected to inhuman sufferings as a transport strike was imposed without any prior notice.
The Jatiya Party chairman also did not find any justification behind the suspension of services by gas-run buses.
He said Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), which is responsible for building a modern and disciplined road transport system, should have taken effective punitive action against those who disrupted the road transport system by going on strike without any notice.
He said the BRTA fixed new fares for the diesel-run buses as per their demand, but both the gas-run and diesel-run buses are taking extra fares from the passengers.
GM Quader also said the students’ current demand for ensuring half bus fare for them is a justified one.
He said students in different countries travel by public transport at lower fares than usual. “This system was in practice in our country in the past.”
He hoped that the authorities concerned will implement the issue of half fares for students as soon as possible either by enacting a law or an executive order.
In his speech, GM Quader made a demand for introducing retirement benefits for the MPs. “We’ve many MPs serving people for 20-25 years as their representative. In many countries, MPs are given retirement support. I demand that such arrangements be made in our country, “he observed.
The Jatiya Party chief said similar benefits can also be introduced for mayors, councilors, chairmen, vice-chairmen and members of local government bodies.