View from the Bottom
Madness and Meanness on Airport Road
It is a mystery why people living in Khilkhet, Uttara and beyond haven't lost their sanity en mass, like that gonohysteria thing, venturing into that crazy road at least two times a day! Occasional commuters like this writer, travelling by smaller cars towards Uttara remain panic-stricken, hysterical and on the edge of a schizophrenic convulsion as long as the journey lasts. On that road, a mere fifteen-minute drive from Banani lasts for a never-ending, nerve-wrecking forty minutes. And to be frank, many occasional commuters look for the washroom the moment they reach their destination!
The Airport Road looks like a narrow strip of land where thousands of wild bysons are on a stampede, trying to go ahead of one another in a mad dash to death. There is no one to stop and guide them, to tell them to go slow, to be respectful of other commuters, to be respectful of the rights of the people on the sidewalks and so on.
Yes, I know, there are three lanes on each side of the road and vehicles are supposed to stay on a particular lane never changing it at high speed or overtaking the one in front. But who cares? Look at those drivers zigzagging their way to wherever they are going having no concern for safety of the passengers inside or those in other cars. Ask them, and they would say, bah, this is Bangladesh bhai shaheb! This is a free country, isn't it? Learn to accept the disorder or go sit at home.
Who manages and supervises hundreds of mini buses, microbuses, mega buses, trucks, pickups, covered vans, uncovered vans, garbage trucks, medicine trucks, food trucks, rice trucks, big cars, medium cars and small cars plying on two sides of the road every minute of the day, every minute of the night? I know, I know, I am looking like a fool for even asking this question because the answer is simple - it is the relevant authorities. But I would further like to ask, where does this 'authorities' live and how do they look like?
Are they people like us having all the concern in the world for the physical safety of their fellow humans? Now that would be funny if they were as concerned as we are for our physical safety and mental sanity. As for this writer, he has not seen any sign of any 'authorities' as he had to cross that 'poolserath' a number of times in the last two months. The absence of any 'authorities' became so blatantly visible when dilapidating mini buses chased one another on the road at high speed, dashing smaller cars at random. No one came to stop the drug addict bus drivers! They suddenly braked on the middle of the road to collect passengers blocking the way of all the vehicles behind. Boy, did they enjoy the tamasha! They even smiled at this writer exposing yellow, moth-eaten teeth!
Hello, anybody from the traffic department, Police, Ansar, RAB, BDR, Army, Navy and Air Force reading this piece right at this moment? If yes, then please go out there riding a small car and try to stay sane and come back to collect a reward. Someone has to come forward to bring back order on that road before more lives are lost and more people lose sanity and end up in an asylum. There is allegation that many deaths on that road never get to the media for mysterious reasons.
It's a frantic appeal -get serious and get the owners of the rundown mini buses and rogue trucks and send them to jail for accidents and for bringing out unfit vehicles on the road. Only then rough, careless, daredevil drivers will learn a lesson. Ask for the identity cards of the drivers if you want to catch one who has killed a man on the road and fled away.
The pertinent question: If a government cannot restore order, cohesion and discipline on the Airport Road, how can it run the entire country?
(R) thedailystar.net 2007