SSC examinees, others suffer as transport strike begins in Sylhet

23 November 2021

An indefinite transport strike, enforced by Bangladesh Road Transport Workers' Federation (BRTWF), began in Sylhet division on Monday to press for their five-point demand.
Commuters, including SSC examinees and office-goers, continued to suffer as all modes of public transport, including buses, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and freight trucks went off the roads in the division.
However, vehicles carrying SSC examinees, patients, foreign-bound people have been kept out of the purview of the strike.
No long-haul buses have leftSylhet since morning due to the strike and transport workers were seen picketing on the roads.
Private vehicles were seen dominating the streets in Sylhet city in absence of public transport.
Talking to UNB, a number of passengers expressed anger and frustration over the frequent transport strikes.
Hossain Ahmed, a bank official waiting at the Sylhet Central Bus Terminal, said, "Transport owners go on strike for simple reasons. They want to realise their demands, making us hostage. This is very unfair."
He demanded an end to such strikes in the emergency services sector by enacting a law.
Abu Sarkar, acting president of BRTWF of Sylhet, said, "On November 9, we handed over our five-point demand to the deputy commissioner of Sylhet. As no initiative has been taken to meet those demands, we've enforced the strike as per our previously announced programme."
"Despite the transport strike, we've asked our staff to exempt vehicles carrying SSC and other examinees, patients, foreign-bound passengers and those providing emergency services. But we won't allow any other vehicle to run on the roads," he insisted.
During the previous 72-hour strike from November 5 to protest the diesel price hike, microbuses and auto-rickshaws were plying the streets but this time those vehicles went off the roads, inflicting immense sufferings on the commuters.
Meanwhile, additional police have been deployed at important points in Sylhet city, including Kadamtali, in South Surma to avoid any untoward incident.
The five-point demand placed by the transport workers are: Sylhet Regional Auto-tempo and Auto Rickshaw Driver Workers' Alliance must complete its triennial election and refund of cash collected as nomination fee as well as suspending the Deputy Director of Sylhet Regional Labor Department, withdrawal of the case filed against leaders of Sylhet District Bus, Minibus Coach-Microbus Workers Union; an end to the harassment of drivers by traffic and highway police in Sylhet; stopping toll collection from the bridges the toll collection period from which expired and ensuring parking facility for small vehicles.

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