Coronavirus lockdown takes toll on transport workers

The government’s measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country has hit the transport sectors, with several millions of living in misery as communications has remained stopped for an indefinite period of time.

Industry insiders said currently, county’s transport sector employs around 7 million of workers those include drivers and their assistants of buses, trucks, covered vans, pickup vans, and three-wheelers.

Workers said that arranging daily meals has become hard as they were to live on daily earnings with offices, factories, and markets reaming closed due to the virus.

A transport worker at Sayedabad Bus Terminal in the capital told Bangladesh Post, “If we could run the vehicles we would have earned money.

“When our wheels stop we become helpless,” he lamented.
Abul Kalam, president of Mohakhali Bus Terminal Bus Owners Association told Bangladesh Post that they were told to shut bus services, so they did.

“Now workers have no jobs,” he added.
On spot visits to the capital’s Tejgaon Truck Stand on Monday, this correspondent found a good number of trucks remains parked with no workers’ activities.

Scenario was same at Mohakhali Bus Terminal, from where an inter-district bus was said to be departed in every five minutes.
Kamal told Bangladesh Post, “We are trying to support the workers financially but it’s very little and there is the payment of bank loan for the owners.”

Transport owners are worried as their earnings stop.
A bus owner from the Mohakhali terminal told Bangladesh Post that they have to pay the bank loan, which they took to buy their vehicles, in each month.

“If the situation continues we will face huge losses,” said the owner, who wished to go unnamed.

Asked whether the transport owners and workers would seek the government’s support, their leader Kalam expressed dissatisfaction.
“The authorities concerned know everything. We remain mostly neglected despite being a big service-providing sector,” he lamented.
At present, a total of 231 transport workers unions are enlisted with Bangladesh Road Transport Workers’ Federation, the sector’s apex body headed by ruling Awami League presidium member and lawmaker Shahjahan Khan.