Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sudden ban kicks up an uproar

Only One to Ride a Motorbike
Sudden ban kicks up an uproar
The government out of the blue has slapped an indefinite ban on pillion passengers on motorbikes upsetting law-abiding motorcyclists.
“I always take my wife to her office at Motijheel, around 10km from my home at Taltala,” said Nazmul Ahsan. With no direct buses to take her to work, his wife now has to change vehicles, including rickshaws, several times to get to work spending a lot more time and money on the commute.
The ban put Aminul Islam in trouble as the resident of Mirpur uses his bike to take his daughter to school 1.5km away. “I am worried but I welcome the BRTA decision. I want relaxation of the ban in cases of carrying children to their schools,” he added.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) imposed the ban on Saturday following several incidents in which motorbikes with pillion passengers were involved in hurling petrol and homemade bombs.
A special notice, signed by BRTA Director (enforcement) Motiar Rahman, said the ban was imposed under section 88 of the Motorcycle Act, 1983, and it would remain effective until further notice.
When asked about the notice over the phone Tuesday evening, the BRTA director said, “The notice has already been published and there is nothing to say now … .”
Asked why the ban against over three lakh bikers was in place when the people involved in the crimes concerned were so few, Communication Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday said he would yesterday ask the authorities not to enforce the ban.
Sources in the BRTA yesterday evening told The Daily Star that they had not received any instructions from the high-ups about withdrawing or relaxing the ban.
Mir Rezaul Alam, joint commissioner (Traffic) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star that the BRTA, an independent body, issued the order and they were only responsible for enforcing the ban.
However, policemen on the streets were seemingly not enforcing the ban.
The ban continues to trouble the law-abiding citizens but many bikers, even policemen, were ignoring it altogether or were oblivious to it.
At Farmgate around 7:00pm yesterday, two law enforcers were seen on a motorbike violating the ban. When approached by The Daily Star reporter, they went away in a hurry only saying that they were from the Special Branch of Police.
During the 18-party alliance’s “March for Democracy” programme in December and yesterday, groups of motorcyclists from the ruling party were seen on city streets with one and sometimes two pillion passengers. On-duty policemen did not seem to care that they were violating the ban.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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