Dhaka, Aug 8 (UNB) – People, in their thousands, started leaving the capital on Thursday for their ancestral homes braving the bad weather to celebrate the Eid-ul-Azha with their near and dear ones.
As Thursday was the last working day for the employees and officials of government, semi-government and many other offices before the Eid, the mass exodus of the homebound people began in the afternoon.
Transport operators said the rush of the homebound people will intensify further on Friday while it will reach the peak on Saturday noon as it is the last working day for private employees.
Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festivals of Muslims, will be celebrated in the country on Monday next.
Homebound people were seen rushing towards Gabtoli, Saidabad and Mohakhali inter-district bus terminals, Kamalapur Railway Station and Sadarghat Launch Terminal from the noon but the rains put them in serious trouble.
Their ordeal compounded further as many buses, some trains and launches failed to maintain their schedules.
Talking to UNB, Ashis Kumar Dey, general secretary of the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR), said over 70 lakh city dwellers are expected to leave Dhaka for their respective village homes to celebrate the eid with their families.
Of the total passengers, he said 55 percent will go home by roads while 25 percent through waterways and 20 percent through railways.
According to the government holiday calendar of 2019, August 14 (Wednesday) is the only working day in between August 9 and 17. So, the officials who are allowed to enjoy optional leave on that day they will eventually get a nine-day holiday.
The three-day eid holiday will start on August 11 (Sunday) and end on August 13 (Tuesday), paving the way for a genuine five-day vacation for the public servants with the weekend ones.
Most buses from Sayedabad were leaving the terminal almost in time, but passengers had to wait in counters at Gabtoli and Mohakhali terminals for hours together as the designated buses failed to return to Dhaka as those were stuck at Shimulia-Kathalbari and Paturia-Daulatdi ferry terminals.
Contacted, Shafiqul Islam, superintendent of highway police (Gazipur), said though there was a huge flow of outgoing vehicles at Chandra crossing from Gabtoli on Thursday morning, it eased by noon.
He said the traffic volume was seen heavy today as garment workers and government officials are leaving the city as their holidays begin on Friday. “The traffic volume may increase further in the evening.”
Superintendent of highway police (Cumilla) Nazrul Islam said passengers were smoothly moving towards their homes through Dhaka-Chattogram and Dhaka-Sylhet highways as there is no report of long tailbacks despite the huge outflow of vehicles.
A total of 55 trains are scheduled to leave Kamalapur Railway Station, including three special ones, on Thursday. The northern and north-western region-bound passengers had to go through tremendous sufferings due to the collapse in train schedule.
At least five trains -- Nilsagar Express, Rangpur Expres, Dhumketu Express, Sundarban Express and Ekata Express—were delayed by more than two hours.
The platform of the station turned into a human as huge homebound passengers were seen waiting there for hours together due to the delay in departure by several trains.
Amid the rains, launch passengers had to negotiate tailbacks between Gulistan and Sadarghat to reach the launch terminal.
Like trains, some launches also could not maintain their schedules.