A 30-kilometre tailback was created due to the increased number of vehicles on Dhaka-Tangail-Bangbandhu Bridge Highway in Tangail on Friday.Hundreds of vehicles with passengers, goods and cattle were moving very slowly on Dhaka-Tangail-Bangabandhu Bridge Highway due to long tailbacks, causing immense sufferings to Eid holidaymakers.‘The highway is witnessing a 30-kilometre traffic jam from Bangabandhu Bridge East side to Nagarjolfoi Bypass area of Tangail. The traffic jam has been created due to the increasing number of vehicles ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, according to Md Ataur Rahman, in-charge of Elenga Highway Police.Law enforcers are working to control traffic at various important points and intersections, he said, adding that surveillance has also been increased. Also read: Mawa-Bhanga expressway witnesses huge traffic snarl on first day of toll collectionVehicular movement would become normal as time advances, expected the officer.On Friday afternoon, People were seen going to their respective destinations using different vehicles, including cattle laden trucks, pickups, and motorcycles.Due to the tailback, the homebound passengers, especially children and women have become the worst sufferers with having no toilet facilities on their way.Roxana Akter, a Lalmonirhat-bound passenger, said she is worried about reaching home as it had taken more than eight hours to reach Elenga-Bhunapur link road in Kalihati upazila.She also claimed that on the way, while stuck in the tailback, they had paid astronomical prices for food and drinking water to the hawkers.
The frantic rush of home-goers reached its peak in the city on Thursday as thousands of people headed their village homes to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha with their loved ones. Bangladesh celebrates Eid-ul-Azha, the second largest religious festival of Muslims on Sunday. The four-day Eid vacation begins on Friday. As it was the last working day for the government and semi-government officials and employees before Eid, lakhs of home-goers were seen departing the capital by buses, trains and water vessels enduring all the troubles of travelling. The bus terminals, Kamalapur Railway Station and the Sadarghat Ferry Terminal witnessed huge crowd since afternoon with the holidaymakers waiting for their transports to reach their desired destinations. All the trains, many buses and launches leaving Dhaka were packed like sardines. Many passengers alleged that the bus operators are charging extra fares taking the advantage of the shortage of vehicles to meet the demand of huge holidaymakers. The vacation exodus will continue until Saturday, a day ahead of Eid, says General Secretary of National Committee to Protect Shipping, Road and Railways Ashish Kumar Dey. As schools and other educational institutions remained closed, many left for homers early to avoid hassles, he said. Read: Trading in Eid cattle markets yet to gain momentum Replying to a question, Ashis Kumar said more than one crore people are expected to leave the city for celebrating the Eid in their respective village homes. “Around 30 lakh people have already left Dhaka since July 5.” He said more than 25 lakh people, mostly government and semi-government officials and employees and their family members, were supposed to leave the city by Thursday night, while 35 lakh will go to their village homes by Friday and the rest by Saturday night. At Gabtoli bus terminals it was seen that the long-distance buses were leaving the inter-district terminal almost timely since Thursday morning. “The pressure of passengers has increased in Gabtoli bus stand in the evening. So far, there is no report of schedule disruption of long-distance buses till Thursday evening,” said Assistant Commissioner of Traffic (Darus Salam) Iftekharul Islam. He said buses have been leaving the terminal smoothly without disrupting any schedule of departure times, he added. Superintendent of highway police (Cumilla) Rahmatullah said though there was a huge flow of outgoing vehicles from Dhaka to Chattogram on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway from Daudkandi Bridge, there is no traffic tailback on the 4-lane highways from Thursday morning to 8:30 pm. He said an additional number of highway police remained deployed at different strategic points alongside an adequate number of patrol teams to ensure the safety of passengers and maintain discipline. A senior officer of Highway police (Gazipur) said the Dhaka-Tangail road remained smooth in the afternoon, except for tailbacks near Bangabandhu Bridge in the morning. The southern district-bound passengers this time are going to their village homes smoothly, thanks to the newly opened Padma Bridge. Additional SP (Srinagar circle) of Munshigangj Tanvir Hadider said holidaymakers were reaching their destination smoothly through the Padma Bridge and Dhaka-Mawa expressway. “Vehicles on both sides of the bridge have been running smoothly as no tailback was seen from the morning to till 7:00 pm.” However, the Mawa launch terminal witnessed very few passengers unlike past Eid festival as many holidaymakers are going through the Padma Bridge.
City dwellers on Saturday faced a serious transport crisis for the lack of local buses, as most were converted to inter-district services carrying homebound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. The number of local buses plying the city streets was very thin since the morning, leaving many commuters to suffer long waits for transportation and forcing many of them to reach their destination on foot. Especially, the office goers were the worst victim to join their office and return home since the banks and some private offices remained open on Saturday. Taking the advantage of the sudden transport shortage in the city, passengers alleged that the bus operators, rickshaw pullers and the CNG auto-rickshaw drivers were charging excessive fares. A leader of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners' Association said the number of buses was decreased in the capital as maximum city buses started carrying home-bound people, especially the garments workers towards northern and other districts from Thursday night. Also read: 15km tailback on west of Bangabandhu Bridge amid Eid rush “Many of the buses that run in Dhaka went to the different districts carrying the homebound people to make some ‘extra trips,'" he said. The city dwellers who were waiting to travel the city smoothly in absence of traffic gridlock on the occasion of eid as in the past have got frustrated due to the shortage of transport. “Usually, the city becomes commuter-friendly with fewer traffic jams a couple of days before eid amid the mass exodus of holidaymakers. But I have become disappointed as I have to wait 40 minutes to catch a bus for coming to Mouchak from Badda area,” Shafiqul Islam, a private job holder, told UNB. Abdus Salam, an official of a private bank, living in the Basabo area, went to his bank branch office in Gulshan-2 by a rickshaw due to the shortage of bus services in the city. “After waiting for around 35 minutes to get a bus, I hired a rickshaw with exorbitant fare to go to the office in Gulshan-2. Reaching the office, I saw an overloaded bus was coming from my area.” Anis Ahmed, who works for an NGO, waited for an hour at Mirpur-11 bus stand to catch a Motijheel bound bus at around 3:30 pm. Later, he rented a CNG-run auto-rickshaw to reach his destination. "The CNG driver charged an excessive fare, but I had to hire it having failed to get a bus of 'Bikolpa Auto Paribahan.” Omar Sharif, an official of a private company, said that he failed to get a bus at the Mohakhali bus stand after waiting for 30 minutes to come to Moghbazar. “Finally, I had to reach my destination on foot.” "Not only me, but also many other city dwellers went through serious sufferings due to transport crisis. It took more than two hours for one of my friends to come to Gulshan by riding a rickshaw and then bus from the Airport area though there was no notable tailback on the road.” Also read: Barishal ferry terminal brim with Eid rush Ashrafuzzaman, an official of Alif Paribahan, said they usually operate 250 buses in the city and its outskirt. “But two-third of our total buses left the city on Friday for different districts, especially for the northern region, carrying garments workers. These buses will return when those people return to Dhaka after enjoying the Eid vacation.” Similarly, buses of many other transport operators have also been carrying long-route passengers to meet the huge transport demand of home-bound people. “That’s why, the commuters in the capital are facing an adequate transport crisis,” he said. The Eid vacation will begin on May one (Sunday) but most of the holidaymakers have already left the city. Homebound journeys are comparatively smooth this year than the recent years.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) is working relentlessly round the clock to launch a new ferry terminal at Majhir Ghat in Shariatpur to mitigate the sufferings of homebound people and ensure smooth services during Eid-ul-Fitr. The BIWTA authorities expect that they can inaugurate the new ferry terminal on April 28. During a recent visit to Majhir Ghat, the UNB correspondent found workers are installing a new ferry pontoon after removing the existing launch terminal at Jajira point in Shariatpur. Meanwhile, the transport workers and lease holders of the ghat area feared that the commuters may face immense sufferings due to lack of parking yard and wide road in the ghat area. Mokhlesur Rahman Madbar, a lease holder of Majhir Ghat, said the Shariatpur-Majhirhat road is one of the busiest roads of the district. READ: Ferry services resume on Paturia-Daulatdia route after 4 hours The government introduced ferry service in the area five months ago without any parking yard and wide road, leading to 3-4 kilometer long tailback every day, he said. If the government launched a new ferry service without taking any steps about parking then the public sufferings will remain the same as it was before. Abdul Motaleb, Manager of BIWTA said “They are working to open the new ferry terminal by April 26 to April 28 and we hope that this year homebound people will enjoy a hassle-free and jam- free journey.”
Eid home-goers are likely to face a tough journey on Dhaka-Paturia highway of Manikganj due to traffic gridlock as development works in some parts of the highway are yet to be completed. Transport workers said tens of thousands of people in 21 districts of the southern and western part of the country travel through this highway during Eid. This year, the number of holidaymakers will be several times higher than in the last two years as the Coronavirus situation has improved in the country, they said. As road repairing and development works are still underway, the home goers might have to suffer on the Dhaka-Paturia highway. The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has been conducting road widening and development works at least 10 points of the highway which is hampering normal traffic movement on the route. During the Eid journey, pressure of vehicles will be increased 4-5 times on the highway which will increase suffering also for the passengers. Drivers and transport workers have demanded immediate completion of the highway development works. Meanwhile, RHD sources said all development works on the highway will be completed within April 24. READ: Hundreds of vehicles stranded at Paturia Ghat, compound public sufferings Roads and Highways Department (Manikganj) executive engineer Md. Gaus-Ul-Hassan Maruf said road widening, separate bus lane, bay construction, and development works from Nabinagar to Nayarhat and Paturia ghat started in 2021 and are in the final stage. “We hope all points of Dhaka-Paturia highway will be opened to traffic before one week of Eid,” Maruf said. Mohammad Golam Azad Khan, police superintendent of Manikganj, said the additional police force will be deployed on the highway to ensure the safety of the Eid holidaymakers. “Adequate police force will be deployed on 36 kilometres long highway from Manikganj’s Barbaria point to Paturia ferry ghat (Terminal) to ensure smooth vehicular movement and security of the home goers.” The movement of all goods-laden trucks will remain suspended for three days ahead of Eid. Besides, mobile patrol teams comprising additional police personnel will also be deployed at every bus stand, he added.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Sunday urged the Eid holidaymakers to return to the capital after 7-14 days if they do not have any urgency as there is a need to check mass gatherings. Speaking at a virtual press briefing, DGHS spokesperson Dr Nazmul Islam also issued a warning that there is no room for complacency in the declining trend in infection rate since Bangladesh is still in the middle of the second wave of Covid-19. “The government advised us not to leave our respective dwellings (in cities) and stay there during this Eid. But we’ve seen, a large number of people went back to their village homes in various ways ignoring the advice,” he said. Also read: Mad rush of homebound people at Paturia terminal Dr Nazmul said, “We humbly request those who’ve gone home to return at least 7-14 days later if their offices are not yet reopened and if they don’t face any losses for being late.” Besides, he said, those who have Covid symptoms must undergo RT-PCR tests at the nearest health complexes or district sadar, specialised or medical college hospitals. The DGHS official said they also must maintain cent percent health safety rules during their way back to the capital. He said the government is sending them to institutional quarantine those who are returning from India through different land ports. “We’re getting help from law enforcers and local administrations in this regard. Even though, we’ve seen many of the returnee patients and their attendants are trying to either flee the institutional quarantines or evade the quarantines to rush back to their homes. It’s not logical behaviour as if anyone flees quarantines with the Indian variant as it may harm the entire nation.” Nazmul said those returning from India should not avoid the institutional quarantine breaking the law. “Don't risk the lives of others by doing so. We should not harm our country knowingly.” Replying to a question, he said, “We’re regularly checking those returnees who have symptoms…We’ve identified the Indian variant through the genome sequencing of the positive samples of the returnees. Those identified with the Indian variant, we kept them in quarantine strictly and allowed them to return home after they have recovered.” Nazmul said six people have so far been identified with the Indian variant and five of them have already recovered fully from the virus. “We didn’t find any infected patients in those who came in contact with the positive cases.” Also read: Homebound people flock at launch and bus terminals dreading ‘lockdown’ The DGHS spokesman said the lowest number of patients was detected on Saturday as the sample collection was low. “We think it may happen due to the Eid holidays. We’ve no reason to be complacent about such a small number of infections. We’ll be able to heave a sigh of relief if we see such a small number of cases day after day continuously. Unless it happens, we’ve to keep it in mind that we’re still in the middle of the second wave. We’ve not yet gotten rid of the second wave. So, we all should remain alert.” He said genome sequencing tests are being carried out at 20-26 laboratories every day to know the prevalence of different Covid variants in the country. Nazmul said it is now important to conduct tests as much as possible and encourage people to go under the Covid tests. “The more tests we can conduct, the more cases will be detected. The more cases we can identify, the more we’ll have the opportunity to do genome sequencing. It’ll help us to know the existence of new variants and work out what is necessary to do.” He said the infection rate was between 10-8 percent over the last week though it was very low on Saturday. “So, we’ve no reason to be very satisfied.” Only 261 Covid cases were reported on Saturday after examining 3,758 samples. Nazmul said when the total number of Covid patients was 21, 629 in January, it increased to 1,30,957 in April. “A total of 20,664 cases have been detected over the last 15 days. Still, 15 days are left of this month. So, we must maintain the highest level of caution.” He said there are adequate oxygen cylinders, high-flow nasal cannula and oxygen concentrators in hospitals across the country. “As per the statistics we’ve now, there’re more empty beds than the admitted patients.” In Dhaka city, Nazmul said there are 3,440 beds in government hospitals and 2,785 of them now remain empty. Besides, he said, 1,663 out of 1801 beds in private hospitals are now available for Covid patients. “The same way, isolation beds are also empty. “But if we don’t change our behaviour and ignore the health safety rules, we may see the opposite scenario.”
As Eid holidays are over, now thousands of holidaymakers from south-western districts overcrowded the ferry terminals in a bid to return to Dhaka to join their workplaces. They are flocking to Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar ferry ghats to cross the river and reach the capital as offices reopened on Sunday following a three-day vacation. The returnees seemed hardly concerned about maintaining hygiene rules although there is an alarming Covid surge in neighbouring India and Nepal. Read: BGB personnel keep watch on Covid safety protocols at Shimulia ferry ghat The detection of a deadlier Indian variant of virus in Bangladesh has also raised serious concerns here in recent days. UNB Munshiganj correspondent says microbus, cars and auto-rickshaws are charging extra fares from passengers as public transport services remained suspended as part of the government restrictions to stem the transmission of coronavirus. AGM of Bangladesh Inland water transport Authority (BIWTA) Shafiqul Islam said ferry services are in operation to carry vehicles providing emergency services even though public transport services have been suspended. “People are now returning to Dhaka and adjacent districts through the overcrowded ferries without maintaining social distancing or wearing masks, raising the risks of virus transmission,” he said.
Covid-19 pandemic has presented the world with some unprecedented situations and brought about some previously unthinkable changes to people’s lives. Similarly people have been forced to rethink some of the old, set ways of doing some things; things we could take for granted just 6 months ago, may not survive the scrutiny today in a new light.
Dhaka, Aug 10 (UNB) – Eid holidaymakers’ journey turned torturous with long tailbacks on different highways and ferry ghats and the collapse of train schedules for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday.
Dhaka, Aug 10 (UNB) - Disruption in the schedules of a number of trains, particularly of those that run on northern and southern routes, caused immense sufferings to Eid holidaymakers on Saturday.