Onlinedesk | 21 May 2018 | 10:53 am
It seems that blocking of the nation’s highways and the capital’s busy roads has become normal for any party ventilating its grievances. The motive is very obvious. It is to create maximum inconvenience for the most vulnerable—the helpless public—to drive the protesters’ point home. And more often than not they indulge in senseless violence causing damage to public property. It is an obvious reflection of a very convoluted psyche that to make the government listen public life must be disrupted and the common man inconvenienced.
Two most recent examples we witnessed were on Saturday. In one instance transport workers ransacked a weighing station on Dhaka-Chittagong highway for alleged attack on one of their workers, and blocked the highway for several hours. Perhaps that was only an excuse to put the weighing station out of operation so that the truckers could violate the load restrictions and have a field day. The other is of traders of a large city mall besieging one of the busiest roads in the capital for alleged harassment by custom officials.
Tailbacks are not new to our travelling masses. As it is, traffic on Dhaka-Chittagong highway has been facing severe tailbacks due to unplanned and mismanaged repair work without the errant workers adding their bit to it. But that incident is fairly representative of the chaos prevailing in the transport sector. And much of that chaos is owed to those that control the transport sector. And the remedy, in good part, is in their hands.
As for the government, if it wants to put a stop to this intolerable practice of blocking roads, we suggest it initiates two actions immediately. Firstly, blocking of roads and highways be made illegal, irrespective of the cause, through legislation, and made a punishable offence. Secondly, it should set up a high-powered cell which the aggrieved party or parties can approach with their grievances and which this cell should be empowered to address.