Commuters suffer as transport workers block buses in Chattogram

Transport workers block roads in different parts of Chattogram city on 6 AugustJewel Shil

Commuters are going through abject suffering as buses remained off the roads in the port city of Chattogram on Saturday after the fuel price hike in the country last night.

Although no strike was declared officially, transport workers are blocking plying of buses in different areas of Chattogram city.

Allegations surfaced that transport workers have been blocking buses from plying in the city’s EPZ area, Tiger Pass, AK Khan intersection and some other places which led to a decrease in the number of buses on roads. Many of the buses which are plying are demanding excessive fares, resulting in scuffles between transport workers and passengers.

Although some public transport was operating in the morning, the workers stopped all types of public transport by taking positions at various intersections of the road as the day progressed. Transport workers took positions with sticks at AK Khan intersection at around 10 in the morning and stopped the traffic movement.

The workers also stopped vehicular movement in the EPZ area.

A commuter named Md Shahin said, “I came up to customs intersection on the bus. But the bus could not move further so I had to take a rickshaw to the office.”

Chattogram district bus owners group and Chattogram bus owners samity are two organisations of the owners of the buses operate in Chattogram city. Two office bearers of the organisations, Golam Rasul Babul and Belayet Hossain, could not be contacted for comments as their mobiles were switched off.

Chattogram bus owners samity’s secretary general Golam Rasul told Prothom Alo last night after the announcement of the price hike that they have not called any strike and buses will run in the morning.

It was learnt that the other organisation decided not to operate the buses. Their comment was not available on this issue.

Tarun Dasgupta, president of City Bus Owners Association, another organisation that operates in the city, said transport workers are blocking the movement of buses in many places as they don’t want to run vehicles due to an increase in cost as a result of fuel price hike.

The number of buses has decreased in many upazilas of South Chattgram.

Arakan Sarak Paribahan Sramik Union’s general secretary Md Musa said the buses remained off the road due to the increase in fuel oil price.