The authorities have passed on the blame for growing road accidents to pedestrians, transport owners and bike riders, saying that there is no alternative to cautious movement of commuters.
Monjur Hossain and ABM Amin Ullah Nuri, secretaries to bridges division and road transport and highways division respectively, came up with the statement at a press briefing at the road transport and bridges ministry on Wednesday.
They said there will be failures, there could be flaws too. Like failures, there are also success stories in containing anarchy on roads.
The road transport and bridges ministry is supposed to maintain order on the roads and ensure safe movements. Prothom Alo, in a report on Wednesday, shed light on failures of the ministry in bringing discipline on the roads.
The reported information is not entirely true. Many issues can be disputed. It is not unusual to have errors.
The ministry called the press briefing on the day without mentioning any issue. Around 4:00 pm, the road transport and highways secretary along with the bridges division secretary came to the ministry’s conference hall with a copy of Prothom Alo in hand. They told the reporters that they felt the necessity to provide explanations regarding some recent news.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chairman Noor Mohammad Majumdar and Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) chairman Tajul Islam along with senior officials of the ministry were also present in the conference hall.
In his brief speech, the bridges division secretary Monjur Hossain said, “Corrections can be made if such issues are reported by newspapers. However, the reported information is not entirely true. Many issues can be disputed. It is not unusual to have errors.”
Later, the highways division secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri said, “Sometimes, all the information does not come in the newspapers. The report would have been richer had it been compiled with information from us. Apart from the Padma Bridge and Metrorail, there are more success stories in the last 11 years.”
He noted that the ministry implemented a total of 465 projects in the previous 11 years.
The ministry, after the election of 2018, had said its biggest fight would be to bring order to the roads. But the unfit vehicles are still plying the roads and people are losing lives in road accidents.
Drawing attention to the issue, a reporter asked if the ministry considers the current situation as its failure.
In response, highways division secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri said the number of roads and vehicles rose in the last one decade. Similarly, the number of accidents and deaths also increased.
We also want an accident-free country. One of our officers died in the recent Madaripur incident. I would have died too if I were there
The authorities are conducting drives regularly against the unfit vehicles, but some hide their vehicles tactfully. The police seize unfit vehicles whenever they notice, he said.
About reasons behind road accidents, secretary ABM Amin Ullah Nuri said some 40 per cent of total accidents involve motorcycles as some immature people got the engine-run two wheeler.
“We want this vehicle to run on the roads, but it has to run safely. Bike riders, car owners and pedestrians should be careful to reduce accidents. Everyone should be aware. Then the accidents will decrease,” he noted.
How long will it take to restore discipline on the roads? He, replying to the query, said they also want discipline on the roads and are working in this regard.
“We also want an accident-free country. One of our officers died in the recent Madaripur incident. I would have died too if I were there,” he added.
When asked about the traffic rules violation by the government officials, ABM Amin Ullah Nuri skipped the issue and said the police and BRTA magistrates are conducting drives across the country. They fined vehicles Tk 30 million and filed 100,000 cases in the city in a single month.
“The more people we can make aware, the better the results will be,” he noted.
How do you see the Prothom Alo report over road anarchy? In response to the query, bridges division secretary Monjur Hossain said, “Information comes in the newspaper. We have success stories too, like failures. Sometimes, the reported information becomes authentic, sometimes it does not. Accountability can be ensured from both sides. We become alert when information comes in the media. But all the information is not correct.”
He, however, did not single out any information of the report as false or incorrect. He said they could not complete the bus rapid transit project of Dhaka in time as they could not work on the project round the year.
BRTA chairman Noor Muhammad Majumdar said it would not be fair to compare Bangladesh with the developed world. Amid the dense population here, how many are aware of the law?
He echoed the remarks of two secretaries that campaign and public awareness need to be geared up to keep the road accidents in check.