Students who came on the road two weeks ago to demand half bus fare have declared that they would continue their demonstration peacefully amid the HSC and equivalent examinations which begin today.
Considering the public examinations scheduled to be held in two shifts – 10am-11:30am and 2pm-3:30pm, the demonstrators limited their protest activities. They promised not to block roads and stand for just an hour.
"We will not leave the road until all of our demands are fulfilled. We want road safety for everyone," Shohagi Samia said yesterday, while declaring their programmes for the next day, on behalf of the protesting students.
She placed an 11-point demand at the event in the capital's Rampura.
The students on 18 November started their demonstration, demanding half bus fare.
Recent road accidents that killed two students – Notre Dame College student Nayeem Hasan and SSC candidate Mainuddin Islam Durjoy in Rampura and Gulistan – fuelled the movement that now spreading from Dhaka to other cities including Gazipur and Chattogram.
In the face of the massive protest, transport owners in the capital Tuesday cut the bus fare on some conditions. However, the privilege was declared only for Dhaka.
The 11-point demand
1. Justice must be served in the murders of Notre Dame College student Nayeem Hasan and Rampura Ekramunnessa High School student Mainuddin Islam Durjoy, victims of brutal structural killings on the road. Their families must be properly compensated. Footover bridges must be constructed for pedestrian crossing in the areas adjacent to Gulistan and Rampura bridges.
2. Half pass for students in all public transports across the country has to be ensured with official notification. No time or day can be fixed for the half pass. Extra bus fares will have to be withdrawn. The number of BRTC buses on all routes has to be increased.
3. Free movement of students and courteous behaviour to female students have to be ensured in public transports.
4. Strict action should be taken against the owners, drivers and employers of the vehicles without fitness and license.
5. The number of traffic police on crowded roads has to be increased as well as ensuring traffic lights and zebra crossings on all roads. Effective measures have to be taken against bribery and corruption of traffic police.
6. In order to stop reckless competition among the buses, one bus on one route should be introduced and daily income should be distributed equally among all the transport owners according to their shares.
7. Identity cards and appointment letters have to be ensured for transport workers. Contract-based appointments must be canceled. Instead of providing buses on contract basis, the entire transport system has to be streamlined with a ticket and counter system. Restrooms and toilets should be provided for the workers.
8. The working hours of drivers should not extend more than 6 hours at a stretch. Each bus should have 2 drivers and 2 assistants. Adequate bus terminals need to be constructed. Transport workers need to be properly trained.
9. The road transport law needs to be reformed after taking the opinions of passengers, transport workers and government representatives, and its implementation has to be ensured.
10. For the movement of trucks, garbage trucks and other heavy vehicles time should be fixed from 12am to 5am.
11. Effective initiatives need to be taken across the society to eradicate drug addiction. Regular dope tests and counseling should be arranged for drivers and assistants.
Meeting over half fare in Ctg Sunday
In the face of student protest, Chattogram transport owners are now also discussing the half fare issue.
"We will hold a meeting with transport sector leaders in the capital on Sunday to discuss the issue," said Md Shahjahan, joint general-secretary of the Chittagong District Road Transport Owners Group.
"Besides, we will talk to local transport owners," he added.