May 24, 2013 | 02:42 PM (BD Time)
24 May, 2013 Friday
Hartal hits economy
Inter-dist bus operators suffer Tk 300cr loss
. Kazi Zahidul Hasan
Inter-district transport operators have suffered nearly Tk 300 crore loss due to non-stop nationwide hartal for the last three days enforced by opposition Jammat-e-Islami and BNP.
The shutdown not only halted transport but also affected businesses, production, and led to violent clashes between police and hartal activists across the country.
"The hartal (strike) programmes have severely affected the business of transport operators," Khondoker Enayetullah, Secretary General of Bangladesh Sarak Paribhahan Samity (BSPS) told The New Nation yesterday.
He said, direct road link between the capital and port city Chittagong and northern and southern cities came to a halt for the last few days forcing the inter-districts transport operators to lay off buses and incur such a huge loss.
In the three-day shutdown, each of the inter-city bus has incurred a loss of Tk 21,000 on an average (Tk 7,000 per day), Enayetullah said. According to him, about 1.40 lakh inter-city buses are plying in the roads connecting all the districts.
The total amount of losses roughly stood at Tk 294 crore after calculation of per day losses from each bus, he noted. "The ongoing street violence and frequent hartals have put the transport operators under severe hard ship and many of them are fearing to become bank defaulter due to nonpayment of loan installment," he added. The BSPS leader mentioned that most of the bus owners have to borrow from the commercial banks at high interest rates for procuring luxury buses from aboard under a light cost-benefit calculation.
He said, per unit cost of a luxury coach varies between Tk 35 lakh and Tk 2.0 crore and the transport operators had taken major portion of the money from banks. "We have to repay the money to the banks in monthly installments, ranging between Tk 42,000 and Tk 80,000 depending on vehicle price," he added. "How can we arrange payment of such a big amount if our vehicles remained off the roads?" he questioned.
Enayetullah also said, transport operators are bound to pay their workers whether they earn revenues at a time buses remained off road. "We lost a lot from the hartal days," said a manger of Hanif Paribhahan, the largest transport operator in the country, on condition on anonymity.
Hanif Paribhaban has more than 500 buses in its fleet and operating in the inter-district routes in the country.
"In my rough calculation, the revenue loss of my company may be more or less Tk 50 lakh during a hartal day," he added
BSPS leaders said, transport owners have suffered around Tk 17 crore loss owing to the damage of their vehicles during the hartal hours. They said the unruly picketers vandalized 525 buses, 370 trucks and torched 89 bus and minibuses and 43 trucks while enforcing hartals in last three-days.
Art and Culture
Focus on Chittagong
Fashion & Beauty
Food and Drink
Law and Justice
New Nation Supplement
Editor: Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Adviser Editor: A.M. Mufazzal, Printed and Published by Mainul Hosein from the New Nation Printing Press, 1.R.K Mission Road, Dhaka-1203 Phones: New Nation PABX: 7122654, 7114514, 7122655, Fax: 880-2-7122650, 9512775 email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org for advertisement, email@example.com