The rickshaw, battery rickshaw, easy-bike driver sangram parishad demanded withdrawal of lawsuits filed against some 300 people and also demanded issuing licenses for new rickshaws and vrickshawvans announced by Dhaka South City Corporation.
The protest was held in front of the National Press Club on Friday. Khalequzzaman Lipon, convener of the central board of the organization, presided over the rally.
Speakers at the protest rally reminded about the services of about 50 lakh rickshaw pullers who offer relentless services operated by battery-powered rickshaws and easybike drivers from villages to cities across the country.
However, the movement of battery rickshaws and easy-bikes is being obstructed in different places of the city. On many occasions rickshaws or batteries are being seized.
They pointed out that sales of motor vehicle batteries and easy-bikes are legal. However, police seize the auto-rickshaws when operated on the streets which they termed unacceptable.
They said that the Sangram Parishad has been leading the movement for the last seven years with three-point demands: modernization of design and formulation of policies; issuance of licenses for battery-run rickshaws and easy-bikes and construction of service roads or bypasses for low speed vehicles on roads and highways.
A memorandum has been issued to the Minister of Road Transport and Bridges on March 15 to implement the three-point demand.
They added that a team has already been formed from the ministry on the issue of licensing. Meanwhile, the administration has continued to detain rickshaw pullers in different districts including Sylhet.
The Sylhet District Sangram Parishad and BSD leaders Abu Jafar, Pranab Jyoti Pal, Zobayer Chowdhury Sumon and 300 others are being harassed in a false case for protesting for the release of detained rickshaw pullers.
The speakers also said that although there are about 12 lakh rickshaws and vans operating in Dhaka, only 8,7000 have licenses. The issuance of new licenses has been stopped for the last 30 years. Dhaka North and South City Corporations have been delaying the issuance of new licenses.
Dhaka South City Corporation started the process of issuing new licenses last year. Tk. 1,100 per license and Tk 1,200 per application form for a rickshaw has been taken through bank draft.
According to the speakers, about 3 lakh applications have been submitted so far. However, even after six to seven months of depositing money, the city corporation is delaying and creating hassle with the issuance of new licenses. As a result, the livelihood of about three lakh rickshaw pullers has become uncertain.
The protesters demand the withdrawal of conspiratorial false charges and speedy issuance of licenses for new rickshaws, vans and wheelbarrows issued by Dhaka South City Corporation and speedy issuance of licenses. Otherwise, Sangram Parishad will build a stronger movement across the country to demand the withdrawal of false cases and the issuance of new licenses.