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Blockades, strikes wreak havoc on transport sector

Tk 12335 crore loss in 30 days

Published : 28 Nov 2023 10:53 PM

The relentless blockade and strikes orchestrated by the BNP are wreaking havoc on the transport sector causing it to bear the brunt of a financial turmoil. 

The loss in the transport sector has so far amounted to Tk 12335 crore. 

Businesses reliant on smooth transport operations face unprecedented challenges, exacerbating their struggles to maintain regular operations. The constant disruptions in logistics and movement have resulted in colossal financial setbacks, affecting both large-scale enterprises and small-scale businesses alike.

Government officials, industry leaders, and citizens have raised voices demanding a swift resolution to the ongoing issues. They highlight the urgency of restoring normalcy to mitigate further economic fallout and prevent additional hardships to the populace. 

Police reported that 290 vehicles were set on fire across the country during the blockade-hartal called by BNP from October 29 to November 22. On Thursday (November 23), the media and public relations department of the police headquarters said in a press release that till November 22, there were 376 cases of arson.

According to the information provided by the fire service, most of the vehicles that were burnt by vandals during the strike called by BNP were buses. Besides, 26 trucks, 13 covered vans, 8 motorcycles, 2 private cars, 3 microbuses, 3 pickups, 3 autorickshaws, 2 trains, 1 Nachiman, 3 human haulers, 1 fire service vehicle, 1 police vehicle and 1 ambulance were also burnt at this time.

Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Secretary General Khandkar Enayet Ullah informed the media that Tk 38.50 crore had been lost in the transport sector due to vandalism and arson during strike-blockade until November 23. 

At that time, due to the disruption of traffic in the country's transport sector, the transport owners-workers suffered a financial loss of approximately Tk 12335.95 crores.

A bus supervisor of a passenger bus at Sayedabad while talking to this correspondent said that they are driving their vehicle despite realizing the risk during the strike-blockade.

Passengers are afraid to board the buses because of the news of fire and vandalism. As the number of passengers is less, the bus staff is left with nothing except fuel cost, road cost and other expenses.

 Day after day investors are incurring losses. As there is a constant fear of arson, in this situation, investors are thinking of selling their buses, he added.

Recently, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) president Mahbubul Alam told reporters that such political activities are causing violence on highways, which is creating a negative situation in all areas.

Prominent economist, executive director of South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) and professor of Economics Department of Dhaka University Dr. Salim Rayhan told the media that if the current political unrest continues, it will definitely have a negative impact on the country's economy.