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Saturday, August 4, 2018 11:38:01 PM
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Bus service halted across country including capital

Public sufferings mount

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Noman Musharef :
Transport owners said, bus services will remain suspended indefinitely across the country from tonight citing safety reason due to the ongoing student movement for safe roads.
No bus will ply on the roads from Saturday night onwards until the situation improves, Khondaker Enayet Ullah, General Secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners' Association, told The New Nation last night.
Asked if it was an official decision taken by the transport owners' body, he said that the decision was not a formal one. But transport owners across the country have suspended their services indefinitely as they feel lack of safety of their vehicles and workers amid the ongoing student movement.
The long-route bus service from and to the capital remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Saturday. People who need to go to targets suffered immensely due to unofficial bus strike.  No long-distance bus left or entered Dhaka through Gabtoli, a main entry point. Many passengers were seen going to their distance by pick-up vans from Gabtoli bus terminal.
It appears that it is an old trick to counter the ongoing student movement for safe roads. Transport owners and workers suspended bus services between the capital and other districts all on a sudden.
Bus owners on Friday stopped operating long-route buses in different districts protesting 'vandalism' during the ongoing demonstrations of students.
Although the bus operators resumed the service at night they suspended it at daytime. But on Saturday they declared they won't operate bus service at night also.
No bus will ply on the roads from Sunday night onwards until the situation improves, Khondaker Enayet Ullah, General Secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners' Association said.
He also claimed that around 400 buses were vandalised and eight buses were torched across the country in the last six days.
"Owners and workers feel insecure. They suspended bus services spontaneously," he said in a press briefing at the association office in the capital.
Asked about people's sufferings, Enayetullah said the owners had to suspend the service considering the workers' safety.
Meanwhile, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan said the transport owners and workers stopped bus service due to insecurity.
Drivers were beaten at some places, he told reporters after attending a doa mahfil at Mohakhali for one of the two victims Dia Khanam Mim whose father Jahangir Alam is a transport leader.
"We have observed today's [Friday] situation. If a similar situation continue tomorrow, I hope the owners and workers will resume services," said Shajahan, also Executive President of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation.
In Dhaka, no long-route buses left from Mahakhali, Gabtoli and Sayedabad bus terminals in the morning, said officer-in-charges of Darus Salam Police Station Selim-uz-Zaman, and Jatrabari Police Station Kazi Wazed.
Mosharaf Hossain, General Manager of Hanif Paribahan, told The New Nation that some buses left Dhaka between Friday evening and midnight, but no buses left Gabtoli, Sayedabad and Mohakhali terminals this morning as workers were feeling unsafe following the student movement.
Hundreds of passengers remained stranded at Gabtoli, Mohakhali and Syedabad terminals as no long-route buses were operated from any of the terminals in the capital.
At the Gabtoli bus station, scores of passengers were seen looking for transports.
Finding no bus, some of them rented pick-ups to go to Aricha. Each of them had to pay around Tk 500 for the ride, which is only Tk 50 for a bus.
The news of suspension of bus services came as a shock to 70-year-old Samiran Begum who came to the capital from Satkhira with her three family members for treatment two days ago.
"How will we spend the night here?" she told the reporter.
In Chattagram hundreds of passengers crowded the BRTC bus station and other terminals in Goribullah Shah and Olonkar intersection areas only to learn that the bus service to all districts, except for Chittagong Hill Tracts, had been suspended.
Many passengers, including foreigners, got stranded in the Benapole Check Post area after crossing the Indian side of the border.
The suspension of long-route bus services caused immense sufferings to passengers in Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Bogra, Joypurhat and Naogaon.
Failing to get any bus, many of the passengers returned home.
Talking to this newspaper, Monjur Rahman, General Secretary of Rajshahi Road Transport Owners' Group and also a leader of the Awami League, said they would operate buses at night.
No bus left any station in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj.
Transport workers put up barricades at many points on the highways so that no bus can ply long-haul routes.
In Barisal, bus service remained suspended as Dhaka-bound buses from the district were unable to ply on the roads through Madaripur, the home district of Shajahan,
The situation was the same in Comilla, Barisal, Mymensingh, Chuadanga, Jhenidah, Pabna, Sirajganj, Kushtia, Khulna, Chandpur, Khulna, Bagerhat, Narail, Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Satkhira, Jessore and Magura.

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