Although 20 to 30 people are killed on the roads in the country every day, the government neither has a specific target to reduce the number of road accidents nor has any plans to stop extortion in the transport sector.
The Road Transport Act 2018 abolished the provision of having a 'claim tribunal' to ensure the victims' families get due compensation.
It was decided that a trust would be formed to settle the compensation, but there has been no developments to this end. In this backdrop, the government has formed a taskforce to be led by the home minister. Experts apprehend that this taskforce might end up being another facade.
The policymakers must stop thinking that the road accidents are a result of poor road management. There are more government sectors like this one that are connected to many other issues for a proper and stable management. Take the capital city for example. The government policymakers aren't ready to accept the actual emergency for the formation of a city government or such bodies. Experts consider Dhaka’s condition could be changed if such an authority was formed and the city's transport sector would be supervised under it.
The committee led by the former shipping minister Shahjahan Khan came up with 111-recommendations afresh, but there were no dearth of recommendations before. Strong taskforce has been formed instead of committee. Earlier, there was no lack of eligible people too in those committees who were efficient enough to produce apt recommendations. Rather, the requirements and pitfalls had been identified long ago. Experts in the transport sector, in a trustworthy approach, had illustrated the prerequisites required from each level including the lowest strata and the top. These records are in the documents.
The efficiency and manpower of the institutions like Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) are dissatisfactory. There is no doubt that unskilled drivers rather than the pedestrians are more responsible for road accidents. Despite that there are no government initiatives or pledges to increase manpower, setting up infrastructure and building modern training schools or institutions. Is it possible to introduce any positive changes in the transport sector without strengthening the BRTA, freeing it of corruption and increasing its number of inspectors? Without performing these fundamental works, there's a constant tendency to show off by forming committees and taskforces.
The home minister has to constantly supervise the law enforcement agencies and look over the national security issues. There's a systematic anarchy in the transport sector. In such a sector members of a taskforce who are from various disciplines will hardly be present at the meetings. There's doubt even over the routine meetings being held. Though a few may sincerely wish to solve the problem, there are doubts if the taskforce can really play any role to discipline the roads and highways. There are no reasons to be hopeful either.
Compensation in road accidents rare