Low-speed vehicle owners clash with police, block highways

Govt firm to keep three-wheelers off highways
CNG-auto-rickshaw-Feni
At least eight people including three policemen were injured and 10 to 12 vehicles were vandalised in a clash between the drivers of Compressed Natural Gas-run auto-rickshaws and police on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Feni Sadar upazila on Sunday morning.
The clash halted the traffic movements on the highway for around two hours creating a 20-kilometre long tailback on both the sides, our correspondent reported.
Police fired a number of 50 bullets to bring the situation under control.
The traffic movements resumed around 12:00pm with slow pace after police cleared the highway.
Earlier in the morning, the auto-rickshaw drivers blocked the road in Mohammad Ali area protesting the government ban on CNG-run auto-rickshaws on the highways across the country.
The clash erupted when police attempted to disperse them from the highway.
Local sources said police sat in a meeting with the auto-rickshaw drivers later to resolve the crisis.
The CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers were given verbal permission to ply their vehicles on the highway, sources said.
New Age could not confirm the matter from any police official, immediately.
However, CNG-run auto-rickshaws were seen plying on the highway.
Our Munshiganj correspondent reported commuters suffered a lot because of shortage of transports from Meghna Bridge to Daudkandi Bridge on Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Gazaria upazila.
Gazaria Bhaber Char highway police camp in charge, sergeant Md Saiful Hossain, said around 400 CNG- and battery-run auto-rickshaws were taken off the road due to the ban since August 1.
He said police are helping riders to get into the passenger buses including the inter-city transports.
A Dhaka-bound passenger, Salma Begum, said she was waiting for two hours at Bhaber Char bus terminal but could not get into a bus for crowd.
In Gazipur, CNG-run auto-rickshaw owners and workers also staged demonstration on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, United News of Bangladesh reports.
They staged demonstration in different areas of Joydebpur and Chandona Chowrasta of the city in the morning.
The protesters also blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in Joina Bazar area in Sripur.
Meanwhile, secretary of the road transport and highways division MAN Siddique said the government is firm in its decision to stop plying of three-wheelers on highways across the country.
The secretary came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at his office on Sunday.
‘The government has taken the decision after considering everything and it is strict in its decision about banning plying of three wheelers like CNG-run auto-rickshaw on highways,’ said the secretary.
Besides, the government will not change its earlier decision due to the movement of the auto-rickshaw operators, he said.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority on Saturday started a countrywide drive to implement the ban on three wheeler auto-rickshaws and auto-tempos on the highways.
The road transport and bridges minister, Obaidul Quader, on July 22 announced the ban on those low-speed vehicles on the highways after findings that their growing presence led to recent spate of traffic accidents on highways across the country.
Source: New Age

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