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Bangladesh - November 7, 2021

Transport strike badly hits exports

Sudden closure of trucks, cargo and covered-vans have created big obstacle

Golam Mostafa Jibon : The indefinite transport strike that going on across the country including the capital protesting to the rising of fuel oil prices, has caused of hampering the export activities besides the public sufferings. It may take serious turn, if the strike is more linger, insiders said.
Despite the demand for withdrawal of the strike in the interest of students and the general public, transport owners and workers have demanded that either oil prices be reduced or fares be adjusted. Otherwise, the strike will be continued.
Although, 24 hours have passed since the start of the strike, no effective initiative has been taken so far to resolve the issue. Ordinary people have suffered in the strike given without prior announcement. Even paying the fare atTk 500 againstTk 100, transport is not available at the specified time. As a result, people cannot reach to the destination in time that added woes.
The country’s export sector is at the highest risk of recovering from the Corona epidemic due to the closure of transport. Industry owners said that, if this situation is prolonged, there could be a big crisis in all export-oriented sectors of the country including the garment industry. The government has increased the price of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 per liter.
Leaders of various organizations in the transport sector held a meeting on November 4. Although, no official announcement was made from the central level of the transport owners and workers organizations at the meeting, an indefinite transport strike has been going on across the country including the capital, since 6:00 am on Friday. Playing of all modes long-distance buses, trucks, lorries, cargo and covered-vans has remained closed.
Large obstacles are being created in the delivery of goods as trucks, cargo-vans and covered-vans have remained closed due to the indefinite strike. This is having a negative impact on the garment industry.
Considering these aspects, the leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA, the two top organizations in the garment industry, urged the government to resolve the issue immediately with the help of covered-vans and transport stakeholders.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tank-lorry Prime Mover Owners’ Coordinating Council said, the fare has not been adjusted despite the sudden raisingof fuel prices. If the fare is not increased, they will not take the transports on roads.
According to them, the government has suddenly increased the toll of Bangabandhu Bridge and Moktarpur Bridge from 257 percent to 300 percent without any discussion with the transport owners’ association. Just after a day, the prices of fuel oilshave been increased on the plea of adjusting the fuel prices with the prices of global market.
After the incident, transport workers and owners went for an indefinite transport strike, which was declared to be continued until the issues are resolved. Leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA said that, after almost one and half year, the garment industry has just turned around. In this situation, the trucks, cargo-vans and covered-vans have suddenly stopped creating big obstacle in the goods delivery. Buyers would be forced to move to another country, if they do not get delivery on time. This is why, the garment industry may face a big loss. Besides, if the transportsare stopped, there will be obstacles in bringing and taking workers to long distancing factories.
They will not be able to join the work on time. Mohiuddin Rubel, Director of BGMEA, an association of ready-made garment owners and exporters said that, the garment sector has just turned around after overcoming the effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
In this situation, any kind of strike may hamper the export sector seriously. The problem should be resolved soon in consultation with government officials with truck, cargo van and covered van owners so that other sectors including the garment industry are not disrupted.
Road Transport and Bridges affairs Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said that a meeting of the BRTA’s fare rescheduling committee would be held today. The meeting will try to keep the additional pressure at a tolerable level through realistic price adjustment through discussions with the concerned stakeholders. Earlier on November 3 night, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources announced a price hike of Tk 15 per liter in diesel and kerosene. The new price has set at Tk 80 in the consumer level from Tk 65. After that, the transport strike started from Friday morning without any prior announcement.
Meanwhile, people rushing to different destinations in every part of the country including the capital have suffered due to the strike. As there is no public transport, fares are being doubled or tripled through alternatives. At the beginning of Saturday, non-government office-going people were seen standing at different places on the roads and waiting for transports for hours. They also faced immense suffering centering the indefinite strike.

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