Transport workers in Sylhet have launched an indefinite strike to press home a list of five demands, including an end to harassment by traffic police and speedy road repairs.
The workers were picketing on different roads in Sylhet on Tuesday, preventing any public transport and goods carriers from running. Commuters were hit hard by their actions as they could not reach their destinations due to the unavailability of public transport.
The strikers submitted a memorandum outlining their demands to the home minister on Sept 5, said Moinul Islam, president of Sylhet Road Transport Workers Coordinating Council.
The council also forwarded copies of the memorandum to all departments of the local administration. The transport workers had previously rallied at Humayun Rashid Square in South Surma to draw attention to the issue on Sept 8.
“As our demands were not fulfilled, we had to call a strike. The strike will continue until our demands are met," said Moinul.
The workers also called for the suspension of the commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police and deputy commissioner of traffic operations, regulation of the wrecker business and to put a stop to the imposition of excessive fines.
They demanded the suspension of Sylhet Labour Court representative Nazmul Alam Romen, who "uses his affiliation to Shramik League to influence others".
According to transport workers, efforts should be made to open stone quarries and repair damaged roads in line with a High Court order.
They also called for curbs on the sale and registration of new CNG autorickshaws and steps to prevent unauthorised vehicles such as auto-bikes and battery-operated rickshaws from operating.
Alimuzzaman came to visit Sylhet from Shariatpur on Sunday, but he is now stuck due to the transport strike. He learned about the strike when he reached the terminal to catch a bus home.
"I'm in big trouble as I don't how I'll return home," he said.
Asif Ahmad, a banker who commutes every day from Sylhet to his bank in Moulvibazar could not attend work on Tuesday.
"They should not enforce a transport strike to realise their demands by holding the common people hostage like this. It is important that they discuss their grievances with the authorities and find a resolution."