City commuters suffered long delays as hundreds of students blocked different streets yesterday, demanding safe roads and justice for the death of a fellow student in a road crash.
Patients, women, children and elderly people suffered the most as traffic on many streets remained almost stuck for hours.
Students blocked Pragati Sarani in Nodda, Science Laboratory, Shahbagh and Ray Saheb Bazar intersections and Dhaka-Mymensingh road in Uttara House Building bus stop area in the morning and continued demonstrations till around 4:00pm. In Nodda, the protest went on till 7:00pm.
They took to the streets on Tuesday morning following the death of Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury, student of Bangladesh University of Professionals. He was killed after a bus ran him over while he was crossing Pragati Sarani.
This is the second time students have been staging major protests in the last eight months, demanding road safety.
In August last year, students had launched countrywide demonstrations following the deaths of two college students in the capital's Khilkhet area.
Yesterday, tailbacks on many city streets stretched for several kilometres and spilled over to nearby lanes.
Ziaul Hoque, employee at a private firm, said, “It usually takes an hour to reach my Farmgate office from Uttara. But today [yesterday], it took more than two and a half hours to travel the distance by a motorbike.”
Many commuters were seen walking and taking rickshaw rides to their workplaces as they could not get any transport.
Ainal Hossain, a government employee, was caught up in a tailback near the Science Laboratory intersection around noon.
“Finding no public transport, I hired a rickshaw from near my Jigatola home to go to office in Motijheel,” he told The Daily Star.
Another city resident, Amir Ahmed, was worried about whether he would be able to go to a job interview in Mohakhali at noon.
“I reached Science Laboratory intersection at 10:00am. I am at a loss as to what to do now as it is 11:00am. It's not possible for me to reach Mohakhali by noon even if I start walking. No ride-sharing service operator is responding to my call either,” he said.
Abdul Jalil, helper of a bus driver, said it took more than three hours for their vehicle, which runs on Gulistan-Abdullahpur route, to reach Khilkhet from Mohakhali Bus Stand due to long tailbacks. Usually it takes half an hour to travel the distance.
“Due to a long delay, almost all passengers have got down from the bus and we had to return them the fare,” he added.
In the evening, many commuters were seen waiting in Farmgate area for public transport.