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Bonus toll ahead of Eid!

Saidur Rahman Rimon, Senior Correspondent |
Update: 2010-08-28 00:24:08
Bonus toll ahead of Eid!

DHAKA: Now eid bonus is added on to toll, with drivers and transport owners held hostage by thugs.  

A section of transport workers, identified terrorists and an organized gang, allegedly with the blessing of a section of cops and influential quarters, got busy extorting toll ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr festival, sources in the sector said.   

The extortionists are realizing toll at more than 100 points in the city adopting new tactics, alleged many a bus driver.

While visiting various points, this correspondent found toll being taken from the vehicles in the name of “workers’ welfare”. Some traffic sergeants are collecting ‘eid bonus’.

Besides, toll is collected under some other ploys such as ‘unemployment allowance’, ‘road-clearing fee’, ‘ghat serial’ and ‘parking charge’.

Truck drivers alleged that earlier they had not paid toll to police at all points; they used to collect one slip from a sergeant in the city in exchange for Tk 100.

“But, now police sergeants demand money separately from us at every point. One sergeant does not pay heed to the slip signed by another colleague,” said one truck driver, on condition he not be named.

Rates of toll have been fixed at different city points. Each goods-laden truck that enters the city from outside has to pay Tk 100, suspicious goods-carrying truck to pay Tk 250 to Tk 300 while an outbound goods-laden lorry from Dhaka has to pay Tk 100 to Tk 150 as ‘bonus’.

Private cars and minibuses of rent-a-car transport operators are also not spared. But, the rates are higher for an expatriate coming back home after a long stay abroad: minimum Tk 500 is allegedly collected from a car or microbus carrying the returnees.

Vehicle drivers alleged that the “toll menace” crossed the limit of tolerance. The situation became worst at BPATC outpost on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway, Tongi, Joydevpur intersection, bypass crossing, near Kanchpur Bridge, Bhairab ghat, Baipail and Kaliakoir-Chandra crossing.    

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Commissioner AKM Shahidul Haque claimed stern action being taken to prevent toll collection.

He said over 100 points have been identified where toll is being taken.  Law enforcers have been asked to take instant action against those involved in the wrongdoing on the basis of CC-camera footage.

Admitting to having received allegations against some police sergeants and police members, the city police boss said, “Departmental actions are being taken against the accused.”

BDST: 1800 HRS, AUG 28, 2010

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