Travellers are bearing the brunt of the indefinite strike enforced by transport owners in all eight districts of Rajshahi division – to press home their 10-point demand – ahead of BNP’s December 3 rally in Rajshahi city.
Movement of all types of vehicles, except private cars and microbuses, remains halted in the city since Thursday morning – causing immense suffering to the commuters.
Though only a BRTC bus left the Rajshahi Bus Terminal, other bus counters were found closed.
Ashraful Islam, who was waiting for transport in the city’s Talaymari intersection said that he will have to pay extra fare to go to Bogura through Natore.
“Commuters like me are the worst sufferers due to the strike,” he observed.
Hoque Titu, general secretary of Rajshahi Road Transport Group, said no bus left from Rajshahi and entered from other parts of the country as the strike is on.
In Natore, the presence of all types of public transport is very thin, while commuters were seen standing by the road.
Some commuters were seen rushing to their destinations, taking CNG-run autorickshaws.
Rajshahi Divisional Transport Owners’ Association has enforced the strike on Thursday morning, following a decision taken from a joint meeting at the office of Rajshahi Road Transport Group on Wednesday.
They claimed that the strike has no link with BNP’s rally, as they gave an ultimatum to meet their demands earlier.
On November 26, the Divisional Transport Owners and Workers Solidarity Council gave an ultimatum to the authorities concerned to meet their 10-point demand by November 30.
They called the strike for various demands including scrapping the Road Transport Act 2018 and banning the movement of illegal three-wheelers and battery-run autorickshaws on highways by November 30.
On the other hand, leaders and activists of BNP have started gathering at the rally venue, Madrasa Field, after law enforcers gave permission for the rally on eight conditions on Wednesday.
Ruhul Quddus Dulu, an organising secretary of the BNP and coordinator of the rally organising committee, said the party activists will stay at the rally venue from Thursday and return home after making it a success.
BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional and major cities. The party began the rallies by holding the first one in Chattogram on October 12.
Transport owners and workers called strikes ahead of all the rallies in various cities, except in Chattogram and Cumilla.
BNP will end its divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city on December 10.