Transport workers' strike paralyses Dhaka

Dhaka, March 1 (IANS): Bangladesh's capital Dhaka was almost cut off from the rest of the country on Wednesday as a nationwide indefinite strike by transport workers protesting conviction of two drivers continued for the second day.

Almost all long-distance buses stayed off the road, Xinhua news agency reported.

Only a few private buses and cars were on the streets here, leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers, especially commuters, patients and students, stranded.

Cycle-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were seen dominating the city streets.

Tens of thousands of people in Dhaka suffered immensely as transport workers at major bus terminals suspended bus operations totally.

Agitating workers on Wednesday vandalised buses in parts of Dhaka when some drivers tried to operate during the suspension.

A transport worker was reportedly shot in clashes with police at Dhaka's largest Gabtoli bus terminal, centre of the strike protesting conviction of the drivers.

On February 22, a court in Manikganj district, 63 km northwest from here, awarded life imprisonment for a truck driver who killed eminent filmmaker Tareque Masud and media personality Mishuk Munier in a road accident in 2011.

Also on Monday in Dhaka, a court sentenced a trucker to death for running over and killing a woman in Savar on the outskirts of the capital in 2003.

A government probe later found that both drivers were negligent.

Relevant government authorities are negotiating with the striking workers' unions over the blockade, which created untold suffering for travellers.

Transport workers have been urged to respect the court verdicts.

The blockade was called by truck drivers' union which has vowed to continue with the strike until the two drivers are released.


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