Prothom Alo regularly reports on the frequent road accidents and deaths that take place on the highways. These updates are not to instill fear in the public mind, but to raise awareness among government policymakers, those involved in road management, drivers, transport workers and passengers.
According to Prothom Alo, over the past 44 days till Saturday, a total of 400 persons have been killed in road accidents in the country. Then on Sunday 13 were killed in a road accident in Damurhuda, Chuadanga. So 413 died in a matter of just 45 days.
Our road management is obviously weak. The roads are winding and twisted, the vehicles are faulty, and the drivers are untrained. Their wages are poor and they hardly get any holidays. There is a lack of monitoring required to address this state of affairs. Accountability and transparency is essential at every step to restore discipline to the roads and highways, and to reduce the number of accidents.
The road transport and bridges minister in the past would often give directives to relevant persons in the sector while inspecting the roads. But now that he has become the general secretary of Awami League, he seems to be busier with bringing order to the party rather than to the roads. So will death continue to parade through the streets?
This cannot continue in any democratic civilised country. Road accidents occur anywhere in the world, but the guilty persons are tried and punished. But in Bangladesh if any steps are taken against the accused in road accidents, the entire transport system is brought to a halt. Even a minister of the government supports such strikes. This is absurd.
The fact that 413 people were killed in 45 days (probably the number is higher), is not just a loss for the concerned families. It is a national loss and is to be addressed accordingly. Let us unite in concerted efforts to bring a halt to the rule of death on the roads.