Truck owners and workers will go on strike indefinitely from Wednesday to protest a new transport law that prescribes harsher punishment for traffic offences.

A network of truckers and lorry owners announced the strike from a news briefing on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, transport workers blocked an important highway for two hours.

“We’ll go on strike indefinitely from tomorrow morning,” said Md Rustam Ali Khan, a protest leader and convenor of the group.

The group made a nine-point demand, including an amendment to the Road Transport Act, passed in 2018.

Asked whether the truck owners and the workers were rejecting the transport law, Kahn said, “We’re not rejecting the law. We want changes to some sections of the law.”

The government introduced the new law following an unprecedented movement by students for safer roads, after two students were killed in separate road accidents in Dhaka. The new law has a provision for a five-year jail term and a fine as punitive measures for deaths in road crashes.

The law was published as a gazette on Nov 1 this year, but the transport owners and workers have been protesting against the law since it was drafted. On the other hand, the government implemented the law two weeks behind schedule, as it lacked clarity.

On Monday, Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader said the government will go ahead with implementing the new transport law despite all difficulties.

The minister’s comment came in response to a strike called by a section of transport owners and workers in 10 southwestern districts.


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