• Thursday, December 18, 2014

Freedom in the air

Home rush begins

Staff Correspondent
Work on the expansion of the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway into a dual carriageway results in a day-long traffic jam on Boilor intersection on the outskirts of Mymensingh town. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Star
Work on the expansion of the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway into a dual carriageway results in a day-long traffic jam on Boilor intersection on the outskirts of Mymensingh town. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Star

Desperate to be with their near and dear ones during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, people started to leave the capital yesterday.

The holidaymakers had been departing the city quite smoothly till yesterday noon, but they began to get stuck in gridlock at the capital's exit points later in the afternoon as the home rush gained momentum.

Most of the buses and trains reached the terminals and stations on schedule yesterday, the last working day of this week.

If Eid is celebrated on July 30, there will be a single working day on July 27, offering the homegoers a nine-day vacation.

The people who left the capital yesterday said they were going home early as they fear the traffic congestion at the capital's exit points and also on the highways would start to get worse from today. 

Visiting Kamalapur Railway Station yesterday morning, hundreds of people were seen making desperate bids to catch their trains which were already overcrowded.

"My train was supposed to come at 8:30am and it did arrive on time. Although, the train was much overcrowded, I reached my destination on time," Shakil Mahmood, who went to Parbatipur of Dinajpur, told The Daily Start over telephone.

Bangladesh Railway Director General Tafazzal Hossain said 45 trains had left Kamalapur station till 6:00pm yesterday. Of them, only 4 trains made delays, he added.

The railway authorities also sold advance tickets for July 28 yesterday, which was the last day for the sale of such tickets. 

Many passengers were seen waiting at the station since the previous night in the hope of getting tickets for home. This scene can be observed every year ahead of the religious festival.

Meanwhile, bus owners fear they will not be able to ply their vehicles on time from today for the existing traffic congestion on the highways. They had a smooth day of vehicle operation yesterday.

"My bus arrived on time and it took 6 hours to reach Bogra. My bus got stuck in a gridlock for some time but that was normal,” said Mizanur Rahman, a private job holder.

Shyamoli Paribahan Managing Director Romesh Chandra Ghosh said they were able to maintain the bus schedule quite well till last evening, but fear the situation will get worse today.

"Usually, it needs only 15 minutes to cross Aminbazar bridge from Kallyanpur. But it takes around 2 hours to pass this short distance during the Eid rush,” said Yeasin Ali, a bus driver, adding that such a situation affects the bus schedule.

Meanwhile, some of the passengers yesterday alleged that the bus owners were charging extra fares from them.

"Usually, they take Tk 450 for a ticket to Jhenidah. But now, the same bus company is charging an extra Tk 100 from each of the passengers," said Kamruzzaman, a public university student. 

Meanwhile, thousands of home-bound people also thronged the capital's Sadarghat launch terminal yesterday to go home.

Most of the launches, filled with hundreds of passengers, left for the country's southern districts in the evening.

"I am leaving the city with my family members early as the launches will be too overcrowded from tomorrow (Friday)," said Rajib Ahmed, who had boarded a Barisal-bound launch.

“We operated around 70 to 75 vessels yesterday. We will increase the number, if needed,” said Mahbub Uddin Ahmed Bir Bikram, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Waterways (passenger carriers') Association.  

Meanwhile, the government and transport owners said all necessary measures had been taken to ensure passengers' safety during their home-journey.

 

Published: 12:01 am Friday, July 25, 2014

Last modified: 10:50 pm Friday, July 25, 2014

TAGS: Traffic jam Dhaka-Mymensingh highway Eid-ul-Fitr holidaymakers

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