More than a thousand rickshaw pullers and garage owners protested at several points in Dhaka on Monday demanding withdrawal of the recently-imposed ban on rickshaws on three major routes in the capital.
From morning to noon, demonstrators kept the major points occupied in Kuril-Saidabad road, Badda, Mugda, Golapbag and Saidabad area. They shouted slogans and demanded immediate withdrawal of the ban on rickshaws.
At Mugda, more than a hundred rickshaw-pullers gathered and blocked traffic movement.
The blockade of roads caused the commuters immense suffering. Many people were forced to walk to their destinations. Sadman Rahman, a student of a private university, said, “I used to go to the university by rickshaw. After the ban was imposed on this road (Kuril-Saidabad), I didn’t get any rickshaw.
“Having no other option, I decided to take a bus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any bus due to the protests. So, I had to go to the university on feet,” he added.
After a six-hour blockade, rickshaw pullers and garage owners freed the roads at noon.
From the very first day of the ban, rickshaw-pullers claimed the decision to ban would make their lives miserable.
Md Al Amin (25), a rickshaw puller in Mogbazar, said he earns more than a thousand per day. However, on the first day of the ban (Sunday), he managed to earn only Tk300.
“I used to ply rickshaw on Mogbazar road. Now traffic police don’t allow us on the road. My income is decreasing and if it goes on in the future, I have to go back to my village,” he added.
Md Rahim Hawlader, a rickshaw garage owner and protester said rickshaw is our bread and butter. If we cannot ply rickshaw we have to suffer a lot.
“The decision was made without any discussion with us. We demand the ban should be withdrawn from tomorrow. Otherwise, we will call for a tougher movement,” he added.
Meanwhile, police and law enforcers also were alert during the protest to avoid any kind of unpleasant activities.
Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Sabujbag zone) Mohammad Rashedul Hasan told the Business Standard that they were prepared to avoid any vandalism. Protesters will not be allowed to engage in any type of vandalism.
“If the protest disrupts traffic, we will take the necessary actions against the demonstrators, in accordance with the law,” he further said.
In an effort to ease the chaotic traffic situation in the capital, the two city corporations took the decision to ban rickshaws on three busy routes in the capital.
The routes are from Gabtoli to Azimpur via Asad Gate; from Science Lab Intersection to Shahbag via Bata Intersection; and from Kuril to Saidabad bus terminal via Badda, Rampura and Khilgaon.