Dhaka, Bangladesh
BJKS pleads Tk10,000cr budget for road safety

BJKS pleads Tk10,000cr budget for road safety

Economic code also sought

Mazharul Islam Mitchel A passenger-welfare organisation demanded Tuesday Tk 10,000 crore in the upcoming national budget, as well as an economic code, to ensure safety on roads across the country. Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity (BJKS) placed a 20-point proposal with authorities concerned for ensuring safe and uninterrupted journey for holidaymakers ahead of the Eid-ul-fitr. There is no economic code for measures to prevent road accidents, it said, demanding the budgetary allocation for providing training to drivers, raising public awareness, providing treatment and financial assistance to people affected by road accidents. The organisation also sought an economic code. Leaders of the organization said the government is now taking various steps to reduce road accidents, but the scenario is different when it comes to the national budget, as the budgetary allocation to ensure road safety is inadequate. The Jatri Kalyan Samity also put forward a 15-point proposal on necessary steps to reduce fatalities on roads. Citing World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, Jatri Kalyan Samity Secretary-General Mozammel Haque Chowdhury said, "around 1.2 million people die and 20-50 million more are injured in accidents across the globe every year." Casualties in lower-and middle-income countries are higher (21.5 and 19.5 in every 100,000, respectively) than in developed countries (10.3 in every 100,000), he said. Mozammel said around 21,316 people were killed in road accidents in Bangladesh in 2012, while the figure was 24,954 in 2016, as per WHO data, showing an upward trend in fatalities. Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) former chairman Habibur Rahman, former general secretary of Dhaka Union of Journalists Quddus Afrad, and BRTA Assistant Director (Road Safety) Niyamat Ullah Lenin were present at a seminar where a report on the findings was presented recently. The passengers' rights body unveiled their demands Tuesday through a media statement, signed by its secretary-general Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury. The proposals include removing unfit vehicles, Nosiman and Kariman (locally manufactured three-wheelers), easy-bike, auto-rickshaw, battery and peddle run rickshaw, motor bikes from the national and local highways during and after Eid holidays. Citing news of huge loss of life during Eid vacations, the rights body also demanded a separate lane for speedy-and long-route vehicles. Moreover, it recommended launching rationing method during the Eid vacation as it could reduce the hassle during home-bound journey. The other demands include installing government booth in toll plazas and speedy passing system, evicting temporary markets from side of highways, seizing vehicles passing through the wrong side, monitoring to check whether extra fares are imposed from passengers or not, ban on carrying passengers on manual and goods-carrying vehicles, extortion on highways, checking unskilled and unlicensed drivers. Besides, the passengers-rights body proposed that the authorities concerned impose ban on relentless and restless driving, repair risky roads, arrange proper parking system, rapid rescue management, and refreshment facilities for passengers and cancel Eid vacation to the those who are responsible to maintain road and traffic system.

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