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Tuesday, July 9, 2019 11:18:01 PM
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Rickshaw-pullers block city roads for 2nd day

2-day ultimatum to fulfill demands

 2-day ultimatum to fulfill demands
photo by NN Photo

Rickshaw- pullers, owners block the city roads protesting ban on rickshaw plying in some important roads. This photo was taken from Badda U-Loop area during the blockade on Tuesday.

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Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
Thousands of rickshaw-pullers on Tuesday morning blocked different city roads, including Pragati Sarani at Kuril, Rampura, Badda and Malibagh points for the second consecutive day protesting rickshaw ban on three major roads in the capital.
They began demonstration by blocking the roads at 8:00am and lifted their protest programme around 1:15pm after getting assurance from local public representatives and law enforcing agencies.
Before leaving the streets, the rickshaw-pullers gave the authorities concerned an ultimatum to withdraw the ban by July 11.
Traffic movement came to a halt after thousands of rickshaw-pullers took to the streets and started sit-in in different points at Mugda, Khilgaon Bishwa Road and Malibagh since morning.
During the blockade, commuters experienced huge sufferings as the city experienced long tailbacks in different parts of the city.
Earlier on Monday, the protesters occupied the streets of Mugda, Maniknagar, Manda, Balurmath and Kamalapur Titipara.
"There were no auto-rickshaws or other public transports available due to the tailback in Hatirjheel area. Commuters are forced to pay double for available transports like bike sharing rides or they have to walk to their destinations," Shadma Malik, a female employee   of a private organisation said.
"Those who are protesting are ordinary rickshaw-pullers and owners. The decision to ban rickshaws is suicidal," National Rickshaw-Van Sramik League General Secretary Insur Ali said.
He said, "We want the eviction of illegal rickshaws and the withdrawal of this ban. We will submit our demands to the Prime Minister on July 11."
Rickshaw-puller Monir Hossain said,  "Our road blockade movement will continue till 1:15pm. We will continue our movement tomorrow if the ban is not lifted by today (Wednesday)."
"We will go for tougher measures if the ban is not lifted by July 11," he said.
"Several thousand rickshaw-pullers took to the street and put barricades on both ways in front of Better Life Hospital around 8:00am," said Abdul Kuddus Fakir, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Rampura Police Station.
Meanwhile, amid outrage over rickshaw ban on three main city roads, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sayeed Khokon on Tuesday invited the agitating rickshaw-pullers at Nagar Bhaban for tea to resolve the issue.
"I invited them (rickshaw-pullers) at Nagar Bhaban for tea. I'll listen to their demands if they have any. We'll find a way out through discussion," the Mayor said while briefing journalists after at a workshop held at a city hotel yesterday.
The workshop was organised with an aim to build a disciplined public transport system in the city.
"Hinting that the ban will remain in place," said Sayeed Khokon adding, "We did not see any picture of commuters' sufferings on the three roads where the ban was imposed."
Defending the decision of rickshaw ban, the Mayor also said that there are adequate numbers of public transports for their movement on those roads.
"We're also making the footpaths free for smooth movement of city dwellers," he added.
Besides, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam in the same programme said that no rickshaw would run in the city in two years later.
On July 3, a special committee led by DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon decided that three major streets would be made off-limits to rickshaws, in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the capital.
The roads are Kuril to Sayedabad via Rampura and Khilgaon; Gabtoli and Azimpur via Asad Gate; and Science Laboratory intersection and Shahbagh.

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