Passengers suffer as CNG auto strike onStaff Correspondent
The indefinite strike enforced by CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers continued for the third consecutive day on Friday causing enormous suffering to the city dwellers while no move has yet been taken by the government to negotiate with the strikers.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority director (engineering) Mohammad Saiful Hoque said that the authorities had held a meeting with the auto-rickshaw owners and drivers on July 10, the day before the strike began.
After the meeting, the owners suspended their strike for two months as the authorities had assured them of considering their demands, while the drivers announced their decision to enforce the indefinite strike from July 11, he said.
Asked about communications minister Obaidul Kader’s instruction to the BRTA to negotiate with the striking workers, Saiful Hoque said, ‘We will try to initiate a move over the issue next week.’
He, however, said, ‘I do not it is possible to meet their demands which are unacceptable.’
Dhaka district auto-rickshaw drivers’ union and Dhaka auto-rickshaw drivers union went into the indefinite strike on July 11 to press home their 10-point demand, including an end to police harassment and extracting amount more than the daily deposit by the owners, easy process for issuing driving licence and re-fixing fares.
Dhaka district auto-rickshaw drivers’ union general secretary Mohammad Zakir Hossian said they were holding rallies and bringing out processions in different parts of the city as the administration was not allowing them to hold such programmes in front of the National Press Club.
The government has so far taken no move to hold discussion with them, he said adding, ‘Our strike will continue until the government meets our demands.’
Zakir Hossian also said they had staged rallies and brought out processions at Shanir Akhra, Rayerbagh, Zurain, Gendaria, Hazaribagh, Mughdapara, Khilgaon, Bashabo, Malibagh Chowdhuripara, Rampura, Badda, Kuril, Gulshan, Mirpur 13, Pallabi, Mazar Road, Mohammadpur and Shanker areas on Friday.
Shahana Parvin, a Dhaka University student, told New Age on Friday, ‘I waited in front of the TSC for about an hour trying to catch an auto-rickshaw to go to a friend’s home at Gulshan, but I found only one which refused to take me.’
Rampura resident Pavel Chowdhury said he used to go to his office at Dhanmondi by auto-rickshaw. ‘The auto-rickshaw strike has forced me to go to my destination by rickshaw which I have to change twice on the way,’ he said and added that the government should do something to end the strike.
Meanwhile Bangladesh Trade Union Federation urged the government to meet the demands of
CNG-run auto-rickshaw workers.
The federation president Faizul Hakim and general secretay Amir Abbas said in a joint statement that the government should take action against corrupt CNG auto-rickshaw owners and police who were largely responsible for the situation.
The leaders said the workers’ 10-point demand was justified.
They also condemned the police attack on and arrest of the drivers and demanded their unconditional release.
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