Workers in Gazipur today blocked highways and staged demonstrations protesting extra fares demanded by vehicle drivers while taking advantage of inadequate public transport amid strict lockdown.
They blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in the C&B area of Sreepur upazila after 9am on Monday.
As a result, small vehicles were stuck on both sides of the road.
According to the agitated workers, they were unable to reach their respective work destinations on time as the government has allowed factories to operate but has upheld the suspension order on public transport.
Moreover, small transport like CNG-run auto-rickshaw, battery-run auto-rickshaws, and regular rickshaws are charging extra fares to them, they alleged.
A factory worker Abdur Rahman said the auto-rickshaw fare for the distance from Gorgoria Masterbari to his factory was only Tk20 but he failed to get any vehicle even after offering Tk50.
"After waiting for a long time and not getting an auto-rickshaw at a low fare, I left for the factory on foot. Later I saw that many people are in the same situation. So everyone has come together to demand the reduction in transportation fares and sufferings."
Another factory worker, Rahima Akhter, said the distance between her house and factory is 8 kilometres. Normally the local bus fare was Tk10-15. "Today I plan to go by auto rickshaw due to unavailability of public buses but the auto driver asked Tk120 for the same distance."
After waiting for a long time, she was forced to rent a vehicle with Tk80.
The vehicles which are plying on the highway are charging extra fares. In some cases, the rent has been increased three to four times more than the normal fare.
The workers sought the intervention of those who control the fare on the highways.
The Officer-in-charge (OC) of Mauna Highway Police Station Kamal Hossain, said that on the information of road blockade police rushed to the spot and assured the workers that they would not be overcharged for transportation.
The police official said they cleared the road around 9:30am.