Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked Muslims to celebrate the upcoming Eid-ul Fitr in their present locations to help check the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.
"We shouldn't travel risking our lives on the occasion of Eid. Celebrate Eid where you are now," she said.
The PM was addressing a programme marking the inauguration of a good number of infrastructures and water vessels of different agencies under the shipping ministry through a video conference from the Gono Bhaban.
Hasina said people can meet their near and dear ones later when the situation will be normal.
"In order to stop the spread of coronavirus throughout the country, I would like to request you all to abide by health protection rules and not to travel from one place to another unless there is an urgent issue."
She said no one knows who is carrying the virus during journeys. "When an infected person travels from one place to another, he may get many others infected and thus cause problems to their lives. This is why the government has taken steps to limit the movement of people."
Mentioning that the pandemic is now inflicting severe sufferings on people, Hasina said her government is making all-out efforts to assist people properly.
She said the government has already extended cash support of Tk 2,500 to each of 36.5 lakh families of extreme poor, jobless or day-labourers, rickshaw-pullers, van-pullers, transport workers, and low-income people who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Besides, the disaster management and relief ministry continues providing food support to the people in need during the ongoing Ramadan. The government is assisting people in different ways, the PM added.
Hasina urged the affluent people of society to come forward to help the destitute during the pandemic period.
The infrastructures and water vessels that the PM inaugurated include TS Ilia Ahmed Chowdhury Dada Bhai Training Ship, 20 cutter suction dredgers, 83 dredger-auxiliary vessels, newly constructed dredger base in Narayanganj, special inspection vessel "Paridarshi", passenger vessels MV Tajuddin Ahmad and MV Ivy Rahman, and four marine academies in Pabna, Barishal, Rangpur and Sylhet.
Besides, Hasina inaugurated the distribution of 500 pucca houses, constructed under a rehabilitation project at Paira Port, among the families affected by land acquisition.
In an oblique reference to recent waterway accidents, the PM urged both operators and passengers of water vessels to remain careful and vigilant about the safety of their lives.
Hasina said sometimes vessels meet with accidents and people lose their lives due to overloading. "All will have to be careful and vigilant in this regard."
She said every water vessel will have to be registered. Problems arise in identifying vessels and realising compensations for lack of registration, the PM added. "If we can run vessels giving operators appropriate training, the rate of accidents will come down."
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury presided over the function, joining it from the Bangladesh Secretariat. PM's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the virtual event.