Vacationers rush home defying health rules
Passengers trample physical distance on a crowded ferry at the Shimulia ferry terminal in Munshiganj on Friday, May 7, 2021 Dhaka Tribune
People use rental cars, short-distance buses to reach their villages
As Eid-ul-Fitr quickly approaches, large numbers of desperate people are leaving Dhaka for their village homes, along with family members exercising caution amid government restrictions on movement and imposed to curb the transmission of the coronavirus.
Although no long-distance buses are allowed on the roads, people resort to rental cars, microbuses, CNG automatic rickshaws and even mini-trucks for short distances, and change vehicles several times. times to reach long destinations.
Since Friday morning, holidaymakers have been seen gathering at the capital’s exit points such as the Gabtoli, Syedabad, Gulistan, Gazipur and Tongi intersections to take local transport, knowing that they will have to make several stops on the way. return.
From Gabtoli the wave of home visitors moved to the Paturia ferry terminal while from Syedabad and Gulistan people rushed to the Shimulia terminal to cross the Padma river.
The government has not resumed operation of passenger trains during the ongoing lockdown. However, the Bangladesh Civil Aviation Authority (CAAB) resumed flights on seven domestic routes on a limited scale from April 21.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called on Muslims to celebrate Eid in their current locations to help control the spread of the coronavirus across the country.
Officials from all governments, autonomous and private semi-governmental organizations, banks and financial institutions have been urged to remain at their respective workstations during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.
Huge crowd at ferry terminals
“Passengers and vehicles have been flocking to the Paturia ferry terminal in large numbers since Friday morning,” said Zillur Rahman, deputy general manager of the Aricha office of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
Authorities have increased the number of ferries to 15 on the Paturia-Daulatdia route.
Regardless, there were plenty of private vehicles and trucks loaded with cargo waiting in long lines at the terminal waiting to cross the Padma River.
Mawa Traffic Police (TI) Inspector Helal Uddin said it would not be possible to prevent transmission of the coronavirus as many people were traveling without following health guidelines.
He added that to deal with the additional pressure from passengers and freight vehicles, the terminal authorities chose to clear vehicles on a priority basis. “As a result, around 800 vehicles, including 300 freight trucks, have been stranded at Shimulia Ghat since Friday morning.”
Shafayet Ahmed, director of BIWTC at Shimulia Ferry Terminal, said a total of 15 ferries have been operating on the Shimulia-Kathalbari route since Friday morning.
At both ferry terminals, vehicles in good condition and private vehicles could not use the ferry for hours as a large number of people boarded the ferries on foot.
The situation has developed because vacationers only have ferries to cross the Padma River.
Authorities have halted the operation of all 87 launches due to lockdowns which normally carry thousands of passengers. Nearly 500 speedboats and trawlers were also not in service on Friday.
At the Paturia ferry terminal, Bashir Ahmed, an employee of a private organization, said he was traveling to Faridpur with members of his family.
“We thought that before Eid there would be a rush. But what we have seen here is incredible. It’s more than an Eid rush, ”he said.
Meanwhile, a mobile court fined a BIWTC staff member Tk 20,000 as he charged drivers extra money to board a ferry at the Daulatdia ferry terminal.
Charge an additional rate
Some travelers back home have claimed that small trucks, private cars and microbuses are taking advantage of the situation by charging fares five times higher than usual.
Crowds of those sent home were seen at Signboard, Shirail intersections and the Kanchpur bus stop on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.
According to passengers, the staff at the long-distance bus counter charged 400 TK to people going to Comilla, 500 to 600 Tk to passengers going to Chandpur, 200 to 250 Tk to Daudkandi and 300 to 350 Tk to people going to destination. from Gauripur.