While the authorities have suspended all vehicular traffic to avoid spread of the coronavirus, a courier service began ferrying passengers from Dhaka to Rajshahi inside their covered vans.
A mobile court today busted the illegal operation in a drive and sealed the office of the courier, Ahmed Parcel Service, Abu Aslam, additional district magistrate in Rajshahi, told The Daily Star.
Tipped off, the mobile court led by Executive Magistrate Losmi Chakma went to the local office of Ahmed Parcel Service this afternoon and found that the courier brought more than 20 passengers from Siddikbazar area of Dhaka.
The passengers were dropped in front of a filling station at Shekher Chalk area of Rajshahi city, some 500 yards away from the courier service's office at Kumarpara area.
The courier's local manager Nabuyat Ali was fined Taka one lakh and a covered van used in carrying passengers instead of freights was seized, the official said.
However, the mobile court could not trace any of the passengers who were brought to Rajshahi, reports our correspondent.
"If there was a single person affected with the coronavirus among the passengers, they are already spreading the disease," Abu Aslam said.
"We have witnesses who informed us that they were transporting passengers instead of freight since transport workers stopped plying buses," the Rajshahi additional district magistrate said.
Transport workers earlier on March 19 suspended plying of buses on Dhaka-Rajshahi route to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Later, the government suspended all vehicular services including trains on Tuesday evening.