The government is going to deploy Ansar personnel at 993 places across Bangladesh to ensure ‘safe passage’ of vehicles carrying passengers and goods amid the BNP-sponsored violent blockade.
The deployment of 12,000 Ansar personnel will start on Friday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told reporters on Thursday after an inter-ministerial meeting.
The BNP sat out the 2014 general election and had been pressing for a snap election.
Arson attacks on roads and city streets have killed at least 39 people and injured over 100 others since Khaleda Zia called the blockade on Jan 5.
The ruling Awami League and the BNP are trading charges while police have accused the BNP chairperson of ‘instigating arson’.
Police and RAB have announced cash rewards for information leading to capture of saboteurs after the government made a similar offer.
A top trade organisation recently said the economy had incurred a loss of Tk 365 billion in the first 16 days, equivalent to 2.7 percent of the GDP.
On Wednesday, several organisations of ready-made garment manufacturers and exporters demanded an end to the violence saying the world’s second largest RMG industry was hit hard by the turmoil.
Blockade campaigners have torched 325 vehicles and vandalised 500 others, Quader said. Five vehicles of state-owned BRTC had been set ablaze and 26 more damage, according to him.
Fifteen transport workers had been killed in the violence since Jan 5, he added.
The government has called out BGB troopers to ensure a hassle-free movement of vehicles on highways.
But violence on the highways has disrupted shipment of goods, pushing up commodities prices in towns and cities as farmers and local businessmen continue to count losses.
Transport operators are reluctant to carry goods and are charging exorbitant prices even if they do.
Minister Quader said they were considering compensating owners of damaged vehicles.
“We’ll decide on it at the earliest after discussions with the prime minister,” he added.
Source: Bd news24