Auto-rickshaw and auto-tempo workers on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister (PM) though Deputy Commission (DC) of Dhaka to realise their 10-point demands.
Bangladesh Auto-rickshaw, Auto-tempo Transport Workers Federation (BAATWF) submitted the memorandum following a procession at Bahadur Shah Park and rally in front of DC office in the city.
The organisation also submitted the same memorandum to other DCs of different districts for the PM.
The 10 points of their demand include creating separate lanes and by-lanes on highways for the movement of their vehicles, inclusion of auto-rickshaw and auto-tempo drivers’ license issue in the proposed Road Transport Act 2017, inclusion of auto-rickshaw and auto-tempo drivers’ representatives in the district transport committee, ending the extortion in police and political parties, taking initiative by government to create efficient drivers, ending corruption in the BRTA and stopping police harassment in disguise of checking documents.
The operation of all modes of CNG-run auto-rickshaws and auto-tempos on the country's highways remained suspended since August 1, 2015, as the government imposed a ban following some deadly accidents.
Leaders of Bangladesh Auto-rickshaw – Auto-tempo Transport Workers Federation (BAATWF) while addressing the rally at Bahadur Shah Park said this ban has ultimately put the owners and drivers of such small auto-vehicles into dire straits as they have been struggling to deal with huge financial burdens for survival.
"Following the ban our incomes have drastically fallen as we can't operate our vehicles on highways. But many of the owners and drivers have bought such vehicles through borrowing from banks, NGOs and relatives.Due to the fall in our income, now we can't repay our loan installments," said BAATWF general secretary Golam Faruk at the rally.
He said when the ban was imposed on the auto-rickshaws on highways their drivers were assured by the government that the ban was not permanent, and there will be separate lanes or by lanes on the highways to facilitate their smooth operation.
But in last two years, no such move was taken on the four-lane Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways. “Now, we're losing our confidence in the government's assurance," Faruk said.
Other leaders who addressed the rally were Abul Hossain, Shekh Hafizuddin and Sumon Mia.