Enduring hassles to celebrate Eid with loved ones

Long queues as usual for advance train tickets
The crowd is back again at Kamalapur railway station in Dhaka. As advance sales began ahead of Eid-ul-Azha later this month, thousands came to collect their much-coveted tickets home yesterday. Photo: Prabir Das

Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka yesterday witnessed long queues of holidaymakers as the sale of advance train tickets by Bangladesh Railway rolled on to third day.

Bangladesh Railway began its advance ticket sale on August 8, promising home-goers a hassle-free journey by train ahead of Eid.

Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festival of Muslims, is expected to be celebrated on August 22.

Thousands of people thronged ticket counters at the railway station -- with many waiting overnight -- to buy tickets, hoping to celebrate Eid with loved ones at home.

The joy of having one is evident in this woman's smile. Photo: Prabir Das

One of them was Shakil, who was waiting at the station since early hours yesterday, to buy tickets to Rangpur.

Talking to this correspondent around 11:30am yesterday, Shakil said he wanted to buy tickets for August 19 but later changed his mind, seeing long queues and rush of people.

“I will stay at the station till Saturday (today) and try to buy tickets for August 20,” he said.

This correspondent tried to contact Station Manager of Kamalapur, Sitangshu Chakraborty, several times for comment but found his cell phone switched off.

According to railway officials, the advance tickets for August 19 were sold yesterday, while tickets for August 20 and 21 will be available today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday) respectively.

The return tickets for August 24 will be available on August 15 and for August 25, 26, 27, and 28 will be available on August 16, 17, 18 and 19 respectively, said railway officials.

But it is not easy to get one; to make sure of the purchase, a youth enlists names of those who would come the next day, queue up together first thing in the morning, and help out each other to maintain their line from the counter. Photo: Prabir Das

Meanwhile at Chittagong Railway Station, advance selling of train tickets was interrupted for one and a half hours yesterday morning because the server was down, creating chaos and causing further hassles for those waiting in queues.

Chittagong Railway Station Manager Abul Kalam Azad said that the server remained down from 6:00am to 9:30am.

Standing in a queue, Manowar Hossain said he had been at the station since the previous night.

“Hassle of buying Eid tickets is endless. When a crisis like server outage happens, frustration turns into anger,” said Manowar, who was hoping to buy tickets to Chandpur.

Station manager Azad said the problem occurred after optical fibres were cut at three different places in the port city.

The railway authority could not reveal how and why the cables were cut.

“We contacted the service provider as soon as we identified the problem. The officials of the company went to the sites and fixed the problem,” he said.

Railway officials in Chittagong said 8,831 tickets of 12 trains for August 19 were to be sold yesterday.