Going home | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 01, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:36 AM, September 01, 2017

Going home

Pressure on highways mounting as Muslims prepare to celebrate Eid

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Like many others, eight-year-old Purbasha was waiting at Gabtoli Bus Terminal yesterday around noon holding her father's hand.

Every time a bus stopped near the terminal, she would point at the bus and ask her father, "Is it our bus, baba?"

Her father, Shajahan Kabir, kept telling her it was not their turn yet.

Purbasha was excited about going to her grandfather's home in Jessore. But the long wait for bus seemed to have dampened her spirits.

Their bus was scheduled to leave at 3:00pm. Shajahan's family went to the terminal about two hours early fearing they would be delayed in traffic following the morning downpour.

"We thought the traffic would be terrible. So we left early, but we did not face too much traffic. Having reached here, the people at the bus counter said the bus would depart on time," Shajahan said.

"I'm excited but my daughter has become a little restless," he said flashing a smile.

Happy faces were everywhere at the bus terminals in the capital.

Thousands of holidaymakers left the capital yesterday to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha with their loved ones at village home.

Eid is tomorrow.

Bus terminals, launch terminal and railway stations saw crowds of home-goers.

Usually, around 1.29 crore people of Dhaka, Narayanganj and Gazipur, leave the cities to celebrate Eid at their homes, according to the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR).

Of them, 55 percent would go by road, 25 percent by waterways and 20 percent would use trains, the committee estimated.

Yesterday was the last working day before Eid. A three-day government holiday begins today.

This year, the holidaymakers faced less hassle as traffic movement at the exits of the capital and its outskirts was quite smooth, as of yesterday noon.

Unlike previous years, the country's major highways did not see tailbacks even though flow of traffic kept increasing.

There has been a slow traffic on Dhaka-Aricha highway.

Smiling people on the platform despite the hassles they face while going home for Eid. Photo: Amran Hossain

During visits to different bus terminals, holidaymakers were seen gathering there since noon. Many said the situation was good so far as most of the buses departed on time.

"I am really happy to see the improved situation this year. My bus was scheduled to depart at 8:00am and it came almost on time. But I don't know about the situation on the highways," said Shakhawat Hossain, who got on a bus to Khulna.

Masud Reza, another passenger travelling to Satkhira, said, "My bus left just at 3:00pm. There might be some delays at the ferry terminal, but once we reach home, all hassles will end."

Saudia Paribahan's staff Laal Mia said there were fewer passengers this year.

Staff of different bus counters, however, said the number of holidaymakers would increase at night.

Mohakhali Bus Terminal also witnessed a huge number of holidaymakers.

A handful of buses came in half an hour late due to congestions in front of cattle markets along the way.

The Paturia-Daulatdia ferry terminal saw several hundred vehicles waiting on both sides of the Padma river in the morning. The situation improved in the afternoon.

Strong current in the Padma was hampering ferry services, our Manikganj correspondent reported.

Adequate number of ferries were in service, said Shafiqul Islam, manager (commerce) of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's (BIWTA) Daulatdia office.

However, Shimulia ferry terminal in Munshiganj saw long queues of vehicles. Over 450 vehicles were waiting in line to cross the river, reported our Munshiganj correspondent.

At least 19 ferries were in service there.

The traffic movement was normal on Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Chittagong highways, our correspondents in Comilla and Tangail reported.

On Dhaka-Tangail highway, there was heavy traffic yesterday morning but the flow was normal, said Khalilur Rahman Patwary, officer-in-charge of Gorai Highway Police Station.

On Dhaka-Chittagong highway, traffic movement was normal from the toll plaza of Meghna-Gumti Bridge to Paduarbazar intersection, said OC Abul Kalam Azad of Daudkandi Highway Police Station.

TRAINS AND LAUNCHES

Hundreds of holidaymakers, including women and children, yesterday travelled on train roofs risking their lives and ignoring authorities' directives.

The rail stations of the capital were crowded yesterday.

Most of the trains left Kamalapur Railway Station on time. As of 2:00pm, four trains of northern districts were delayed by one to two hours.

"It's been one hour, I have been waiting for Silkcity [Rajshahi bound train],” said Sohrab Hossain, while fanning his two-year-old daughter with a newspaper.

Silkcity was scheduled to leave Kamalapur at 2:20pm but it did not arrive until 3:00pm. The authorities rescheduled the departure to 3:15pm.

Talking to The Daily Star, Station Manager Sitangshu Chakraborty of Kamalapur Railway Station said four trains -- Dhumketu, Sundarbans, Nilsagar and Rangpur -- arrived at the station one or two hours late.

Dhumketu goes to Rajshahi, Sundarbans to Khulna, Nilsagar to Nilphamari and Rangpur to Rangpur.

“Trains are stopping for about 10 minutes at stations whereas they usually stop for two minutes. That is why these are behind the schedule,” he said.

A total of 67 trains left Dhaka with holidaymakers yesterday.

Meanwhile, thousands of people flocked to Sadar Ghat Launch Terminal from early hours of yesterday.

Passengers who secured cabin tickets were seen relaxed but others hustled around trying to book tickets.

Even though all tickets were sold, launch staffers arranged accommodation in cabins for crew members at incredibly higher prices. 

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