Thousands leave Dhaka for home
A large number of city dwellers left the capital yesterday, the first day of the nine-day eid holiday, to celebrate the festival with their near and dear ones at village home.
Unlike the previous years, no severe gridlock was reported on the highways this time, but vehicles had to move slowly due to heavy rush. However, passengers heading for southern districts suffered much as they got stuck for hours at Paturia ferry ghat in Manikganj, reports our correspondents.
In Kamalapur Railway Station, 37 trains left the city as of 8:00 last night. Of the departing trains, three delayed by one hour to two and a half hours. The rest departed almost on time, according to railway officials.
Passengers were seen gathering at the city's bus, launch and railway stations since dawn with their families and baggage.
The hustle-bustle capital took a new look yesterday as the city streets witnessed lower traffic flow compared to the previous days.
However, traffic gridlocks were created on some streets adjacent to the shopping malls and kitchen markets.
Besides, several passengers, who left the city yesterday, said they faced traffic jam at the exit points due to haphazard parking of vehicles on the roads.
“I was stuck for around 20 minutes at Abdullapur of Uttara as several local buses were taking passengers blocking the road,” said Mamunur Rashid, who went to Bogra from Mohakhali bus terminal yesterday.
Officials of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) have identified the 36-kilometre-long road from Joydevpur to Mirzapur and 20km-long road from Abdullapur to Chandra on Dhaka-Tangail Highway as the most vulnerable roads to face traffic gridlock.
“I faced no major traffic jam on the Dhaka-Tangail Highway today [Friday]. I have reached Rangpur in average time of around eight hours. But I think traffic congestion may be created next day when the rush of vehicles will get momentum,” said Ruhul Amin, a college student.
Passengers faced a little traffic jam at Bhulta intersection on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway, Kanchpur on Dhaka-Chittagong Highway and Babubazar Bridge on Dhaka-Mawa Highway.
Around 60-70 lakh people are likely to travel on road, rail and river routes until Wednesday to reach their destinations, according to transport operators. This year the Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest festival of the Muslims, will be celebrated either on July 6 or the following day subject to sighting of the moon.
The Bangladesh Passengers Welfare Association and the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR) have meanwhile demanded in separate statements that the government strictly check charging additional fares and ensure safety of the passengers.
An around-three-kilometre-long tailback was created since yesterday morning at Paturia ferry ghat. As the day progressed, the tailback became longer, reports our Manikganj correspondent.
Around 1,200 different modes of vehicles were waiting at the ghat to cross the Padma river as of filing of the report last evening.
The authorities said the tailback was created due to excessive rush of vehicles and they were trying their best to ease the gridlock.
Cashing in on the excessive rush passengers, launch and speedboat operators were charging high fares on the Mawa-Kawrakandi river route, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.
A mobile court has fined around 16 buses on Dhaka-Mawa route Tk 34,500 for charging additional fares.
In another drive in the district headquarters, another mobile court fined a bus company Tk 1 lakh.
Thousands of passengers heading for southern districts thronged the Sadarghat terminal since morning. All the launches leaving the terminal were seen jam-packed with passengers.
Although the government and launch operators warned of taking stern actions against those who will travel on rooftop, many passengers were seen violating the warning.