People heading to their homes outside the capital for Eid rather had a comfortable exit yesterday as the exodus ahead of the festival was yet to reach its peak.
However, holidaymakers had to go through a six-kilometre-long traffic jam on the Dhaka-Aricha highway at Savar yesterday, as victim workers and family members of the victims of the Rana Plaza disaster had blocked the road demanding salaries, bonuses and compensation.
A good number of people had left the capital in the last few days to avoid the last minute rush. Many managed to go on holiday early as today is the Lailatul Qadr holiday and tomorrow is the last official working day before Eid.
Getting out of the capital ahead of Eid has been easy for them so far but getting back to Dhaka after Eid could be troublesome.
Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a 48-hour countrywide shutdown from August 12, making people worried about when and how they would return to Dhaka.
“Since a 48-hour hartal has been called on August 12 and 13, hundreds of passengers are now asking to change their ticket dates to August 11,” said a staff of couch service provider SP Golden Line.
Road transport operators yesterday said they, like previous years, have arranged for additional vehicles to manage the rush a couple of days ahead of the Eid.
Launch operators said the rush would increase today and might reach its peak tomorrow. They arranged for four additional launches since yesterday which would make round trips to and from Barisal to ease the rush.
During a visit to different bus terminals yesterday, a comparatively fewer number of holidaymakers were seen. Many expressed their satisfaction over the improved situation this year. They also said the number of incidents of people being harassed by touts had decreased.
Farzana Haque, a housewife from Mohammadpur area, was waiting with her children in front of a bus counter at Kalyanpur bus stand to go to Khulna.
“The joy of spending Eid with your parents and loved ones cannot be explained in words. With just the thought of it, the hassle of travelling in such a rush becomes bearable. We are going home after a long time to celebrate Eid. It feels great!” she said.
Shimul Ahmed, a university student, said they had not faced any trouble this time as the crazy rush was yet to begin, “My friend went home without any trouble as the bus came and left on time Sunday.”
Eleven-year-old Sumaiya Sharmin was chatting with her siblings on what they would do once they reached their grandfather's home in Kushtia. “We will have lots of fun with my cousins in Kushtia.”
Solaiman, a staff of bus service provider Eagle Paribahan, said all their buses were maintaining schedule so far. “We hope the situation will remain the same in the next two days when people in large numbers will head for their homes.”
Fewer numbers of passengers were seen at Kamalapur Railway Station in the morning. However, the numbers started to increase as the day progressed.
“It takes a long time to travel by bus. So we opted for the train,” said sexagenarian Obaidur Rahman, on his way to his home in Parbatipur with his six-member family.