The Highways Bill-2021 was passed at the parliament on Saturday with an aim to ensure better management and construction of highways.
Transport Minister Obaidul Quader said that the bill has been introduced to carry out construction, development and maintenance of highways ensuring orderly and safe movement of vehicles.
According to the bill, no billboard, signboard, arch or anything similar can be hung or placed on the highways without the permission of the Roads and Highways Department.
The minister proposed to repeal the Highways Act of 1925 and pass the new bill in the parliament, and it was passed by voice vote.
Penalties for violating the law will be a maximum of two years' jail or a Tk5,000-Tk5 lakh fine.
However, during discussion on the law, BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid expressed doubt over the implementation of the law, saying, "It is an excellent law. But can you guarantee to enforce the law once it is passed?"
Addressing the road transport minister, he said, "This law will be passed today. I would request you to remove all posters with your picture in your constituency by tonight. Then I will assume that the law you have brought today will be enforced."
As per the bill, the government will decide which vehicles will run on which roads or highways, which highways will be declared as expressways and from which roads toll will be collected.
According to the bill, slow-moving vehicles will have to use designated lanes on highways. There will be no scope to keep crops or something others for drying up on the highways. Pedestrians have to use designated place to cross the highway.