• Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy trips home

Eid holidaymakers face lesser trouble this time so far; congestions at city exit points, highways largely smooth

Pankaj Karmakar and Mahbubur Rahman Khan
People heading home for the holidays scramble on to the roof of a train, failing to find space to stand inside the carriages at Kamalapur Railway Station yesterday. The railway sells a large number of standing tickets especially during the Eid holidays to cope with huge rush. Photo: Palash Khan
People heading home for the holidays scramble on to the roof of a train, failing to find space to stand inside the carriages at Kamalapur Railway Station yesterday. The railway sells a large number of standing tickets especially during the Eid holidays to cope with huge rush. Photo: Palash Khan

Six-year-old Aryan all excited called his grandfather from his parent's phone to tell him to get the fishing rods ready because he is coming home and he would like to go fishing with him.

Aryan was waiting with his parents at Kalyanpur in the capital for a bus to Rajshahi where the family would spend their Eid holidays.

"I will go to my Dadu's [grandfather] after a long time. We will have lots of fun," he said, barely able to contain his excitement.

His parents were all smiles too.

Like Aryan's family, thousands of people heading home yesterday left for their destinations happy as they faced relatively less hassle this years.

Usually, people heading home on Eid holidays face immense sufferings on their way, including long tailbacks on highways and schedule collapse of buses and trains, due to the huge rush.

As of yesterday, most buses and trains were on time spreading joy among the people heading home.

"My bus started at 8:30am from the capital's Gabtoli and I reached Bogra within four and a half hours that is the normal time for the distance," Kamrul Islam, who works for a company, told The Daily Star over the phone.

"I would like to thank the authorities concerned for their traffic management which was very good on Dhaka-Khulna highway. I did not face any jams at the ferry terminal," said Amit Roy, who travelled to Khulna from Dhaka yesterday.

Two highways -- Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh -- which were a concern for transport operators and passengers, were also free from gridlock.

"There was a huge rush of vehicles on the highway, but no unusual tailbacks. I reached Chittagong from Dhaka in around seven hours," said Abul Hasnat.

Abul Kalam, president of bus owners association of Mohakhali bus terminal, said it takes around three and a half hours to reach Mymensingh from Dhaka.

But the situation turns bad when it rains, he added.

Correspondents and travellers from several districts, including Rangpur, Dinajpur and Sylhet, reported that almost all the buses reached their destination on time.

Visiting the capital's Mohakhali bus terminal yesterday, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader said there would be no tailbacks on highways due to poor road condition during the Eid rush.

In the afternoon while talking to reporters at Mawa ferry terminal, the minister said the problems that remain with roads would be fixed ahead of the next Eid and that all roads would be in perfect condition by 2018, reports our correspondent there.

All trains leaving the capital yesterday were overcrowded. Hundreds of passengers were travelling on the roof.

Md Hakim, who works in a security service agency, failed to get a seat. He was preparing to travel standing in the aisle.

"If I could manage to keep my feet somewhere in the aisle … I need nothing more," he said carrying two bags and a backpack.

A total of 47 trains left the station until 5:00pm. Only two were delayed for around one hour, said Tafazzal Hossain, director general of Bangladesh Railway.

"My train left Kamalapur on time around 7:40am and reached Chittagong timely," said Atiqur Rahman over the phone.

Hundreds of people wishing to go to their homes in the southern districts thronged the Sadarghat launch terminal since morning yesterday. The rush only got heavier as the day progressed. 

Defying the instructions of launch owners and law enforcers, many passengers were seen travelling on the roofs of vessels.

"I did not find any room on the deck. I have no alternative but to travel on the roof," said Sourav Rahman, a student.

Around 25 launches left the terminal until the evening. The number was likely to increase to around 70, said Mahbub Uddin Ahmed Bir Bikram, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Waterways (passenger carriers) Association.

Our Manikganj correspondent reports: A mobile court yesterday fined two launches Tk 2,000 each at Paturia launch terminal for not having adequate life savings equipment on board. 

BNP'S STATEMENT

BNP joint secretary general Rizvi Ahmed yesterday alleged that the roads and highways of the country have become a "death trap" due to lack of maintenance.

The dilapidated roads and highways have ruined the happy event of travelling home for Eid, said the BNP leader at a press conference at its headquarters in Nayapaltan.

Blaming the communication minister for giving incorrect information about the condition of the roads, he said the minister made people believe that the roads were "shiny and smooth".

 

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last modified: 10:01 pm Saturday, July 26, 2014

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