Extortion on highways must stop

Published : 11 Feb 2024 09:25 PM

We extol the government’s latest move to launch crackdown on extortionists on the roads and highways across the country. Different armed goons are still extorting money from trucks carrying merchandise every day.

The armed extortionists are the major contributors to the price hike of essential commodities.  Bangladesh Post on Sunday ran a story headlined ‘Get tough on extortion, hoarding’ detailing how the armed terrorists extort money from goods-laden trucks. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday directed public representatives to get tough to stop extortion and hoarding. However, members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) are continuing drives against extortionists on roads and highways across the country.

Some 196 extortionists were arrested for collecting extortion money from goods or vegetable-laden vehicles/trucks on roads and highways since January 6. Cash, laser beam lights, jackets of different organizations, other types of lights, Identity cards (ID-cards), mobiles and receipt-books were recovered from their possession. The arrested persons provided important information regarding their involvement in extortion.

It is not possible to control the prices of essential commodities if the armed goons continue to extort money from goods-laden trucks during the upcoming month of Ramadan. 

Armed extortionists

 are the major contributors 

to the price hike of 

essential commodities  

Every vehicle carrying goods is being stopped by armed extortionists despite police assurance of hassle-free plying of goods-laden trucks. Transport costs are increasing while the prices of essentials are still skyrocketing as extortion continues unabated.

Earlier police headquarters ordered the field level cops not to stop or impede vehicles carrying goods on roads and highways without any specific complaint or information. Besides, the police were also asked not to harass the goods-laden trucks and covered-vans in the name of checking their document papers.

No vehicle carrying goods on highways or roads can be stopped without any specific complaint or information. But the traders and transport workers have alleged they are still being forced to give extortion money on different highways.

It is alleged that some law enforcers are engaged in extortion in the name of checking transport documents.

The high command of the government ordered the Home Minister about taking action against the extortionists who collect toll from truckers transporting daily essentials.

Therefore, the RAB members took hard line against extortionists on different roads and highways. Despite the preventive measures against extortion, traders bound for the city over highways and waterways are still facing multi-phased and wide-scale extortion and harassment by criminals and a section of corrupt law enforcers.