Nationwide protests against fuel price hike

The aggrieved consumers blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway after all the pumps suspended fuel sale at Sreepur of Gazipur on the night of 5 August 2022Sadek Mridha

The government has raised prices of fuel oil to an unprecedented extent on Friday night, with diesel price going up by Tk 34 per litre, octane by Tk 46 per litre and petrol by Tk 44 per litre.

The new price came into effect at 12:00am on Saturday, but the owners allegedly shut their refuelling stations soon after circulation of the news, putting the consumers in great suffering.

The price hike triggered a huge public outcry across the country. Bikers and other transport workers took to streets and staged demonstrations against the decision in different districts.

In Sylhet, hundreds of motorcyclists staged demonstrations blocking the city roads on Friday night as traders closed all pumps before 12:00am. It was seen during a visit to the city in the night that the owners closed all four pumps in the city and switched off all lights there. Hundreds of motorcycles were lined up in front of the pumps.

Police personnel were seen at one of the four pumps. The closed pumps include Northeast filling station, Jalalabad Traders, and Bengal gasoline and service filling station.

The aggrieved bikers alleged that the traders suddenly stopped selling fuel oil at around 10:30pm on information of fuel price hike. The owners and workers switched all lights off and left the pumps, which inflicted immense sufferings on the consumers.

Motorcycles and cars were seen waiting in long queues in front of the Bengal gasoline and service filling station in Sobhanighat area at around 11:00pm. The consumers were frequently engaging in arguments with the pump workers.

A pump worker, on condition of anonymity, said he has nothing to do as the owner asked him to stop selling fuel. At one stage, the bikers and car drivers staged demonstrations blocking the approach road.

A certain Fahad Mohammad Hossain said he came to the filling station before learning about the fuel price hike, but the pump station owner had already stopped the sale. That is why he joined the demonstration.

BM Ashraf Ullah, additional deputy commissioner (media) of Sylhet metropolitan police (SMP), said there are reports that many people got angered after finding no fuel at the pumps. The policemen are on the ground to maintain law and order.

In Chattogram, at least 200 motorcycles, 50 cars and microbus were waiting to buy fuel from Sena filling station in the city's Polytechnic area around 11:30pm on Friday.

Arifur Rahman, a biker, told Prothom Alo that he moved to buy fuel after learning the news of fuel price hike. The pump authorities sold fuel oil of Tk 200 to him after keeping him waiting for around 45 minutes.

QC Trading, another filling station in the Gani Bakery area of the city, was found shut at around 12:00am. At least 10 people were seen going back after failing to avail fuel at the pump.

In Satkhira, bikers blocked the Satkhira-Khulna highway in front of AB Khan Petrol Pump at around 11:15pm on Friday, protesting the suspension of fuel sale by the owner. However, the policemen dispersed them after around 15 minutes and restored vehicular movement on the busy highway.

In Rajshahi, the bikers staged a demonstration blocking the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway in front of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET).

In Gazipur, all pumps along the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway stopped selling fuel after 10:30pm. More than 200 consumers blocked the highway at Sreepur protesting the suspension of fuel sale.