Lockdown gets laxer every day
With rising public and vehicular movement, everything except public transport is plying the capital's roads, as the nationwide "strict lockdown" rolled into its sixth day yesterday.
Despite restrictions, hundreds of holidaymakers and service-holders, who had gone to their village homes, continued to enter the capital through different entry points and by changing different modes of transport.
Dhaka almost went back to the way it normally is, with an increased number of vehicles and people on the streets. Only movement of public transport remained suspended, as per government restrictions.
In the morning, office-goers were seen travelling by rickshaws, motorbikes and private cars. Many were seen walking long distances.
This correspondent visited Asad Gate, Farmgate, Mohakhali, Gulshan, Banani, Pragati Sarani, Panthapath, Mohammadpur, Shyamoli, Ring Road, Adabor, and Dhanmondi areas, and witnessed the scenario.
A traffic inspector of Shahbagh area said the pressure of vehicles increased yesterday, when compared with the last few days. "In some areas, traffic control is needed due to the increasing number of vehicles."
There are more crowds in the alleys than on the roads. Visiting by-lanes at Mohammadpur, Kalabagan, Green Road and Bhatara areas, our correspondent found some shops and tea stalls open.
People were even seen gossiping on roads and moving from one place to another without wearing masks. Some shops were found open with shutters half-closed.
A hardware shop owner in Sher Shah Suri Road, wishing not to be named, said customers continue to come even in this lockdown. "Many are repairing households in this lockdown. They call us over phone and make queries about products. We just supply them from the shop."
People continued venturing out with families and friends, defying the lockdown rules.
Amid the rising cases of Covid-19, the government announced another lockdown -- which bans operation of trains, domestic flights, passenger vessels, and personal vehicles -- from Friday, after an eight-day break for Eid.
There is, however, no restrictions on freight services. The lockdown will end on August 5 midnight.
Police, Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh and army personnel were seen checking vehicles by setting up check-posts at important points.
But there was lax monitoring at some check-posts, where there were no law enforcers.
Police in Dhaka yesterday detained 562 individuals for being outdoors without valid reason. Mobile courts fined 208 individuals and shops Tk 1.61 lakh, while Dhaka Metropolitan Police's traffic division fined 489 motorists Tk 11.33 lakh.
The holidaymakers were seen returning with their luggage, through entry points at Gabtoli, Tongi, Shanirakhra and Jatrabari. They took detours and even walked to their destinations. Many of them faced police questioning.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people travelled across Padma River by boarding ferries running on Daulatdia-Paturia and Bangla Bazar-Shimulia routes.
Officials said travellers were allowed to board the ferries on humanitarian grounds.
Out of 19 ferries, six were operating on Daulatdia-Paturia route.
Passengers had to walk a long distance to get a vehicle. Among them, many were service holders and workers, who came to join work after Eid.
Our Munshiganj correspondent reports that the pressure of Dhaka-bound passengers at Bangla Bazar-Shimulia route was normal yesterday. In the morning, there were crowds, but the situation went back to normal after 11am. Seven ferries were operating on the route.