The government decided to form a ‘monitoring committee’ to ensure the safety of women in vehicles and prevent sexual harassment, said Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.
The minister disclosed the plan at the end of a meeting of National Highway Safety Council at the Secretariat on Tuesday. Several participants cited instances of travelling hazards and sexual harassment faced by female passengers.
Quader said the complaints would be looked into by a 15-member committee, headed by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chairman, and action taken on the basis of its findings. The committee would comprise the representatives various stakeholders’.
Last December, a Dhaka University student had been sexually harassed on her way to Dhaka from Manikganj. The bus driver and his assistant were arrested on the basis of her complaint.
According to an Actionaid Bangladesh survey, mass transport, roads, bazaars and commercial complexes centres were places from where the maximum cases of sexual harassment were reported. Forty-eight percent of the female respondents said they had been victims of obscene verbal remarks by bus drivers and conductors.
The minister said the District Road Safety Councils, headed by district commissioners, would be revived. District superintendents of police are also on such committees. “The monitoring committee will refer cases to them. The main job will have to be done by the councils.”
Shipping Transport Minister Shahjahan Khan, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokan, and representatives of the road transport sector were present at the meeting, according to news agencies. –Mithun