Some long route buses, especially running between Dhaka and the northern districts, are plying on roads in the dark of the night violating the government ban on movement of public transports to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The violation was exposed after a Hilli-bound bus of Ahad Paribahan from Dhaka left the body of a 40-year old man Mizanur Rahman and his elderly mother on road at Hichmi under Sadar upazila in Jaipurhat at night after the man died on the bus early Tuesday on suspicion that the dead was COVID-19 positive.
Besides, a number of microbuses and private cars are also carrying passengers, especially to and from southern districts, risking further spread of the deadly virus infection.
Against the backdrop of the severity of coronavirus infections in some hotspots, the government announced a public holiday and simultaneously imposed a ban on public transports since March 26 and extended it until May 30 in phases.
Police seized the Ahad Paribahan bus from Bagjana area under Panchbibi upazila in Jaipurhat on Tuesday afternoon but its driver and staff managed to flee, Panchbibi police station officer-in-charge Monsur Rahman told New Age.
Deceased Mizanur’s mother Sohagi Begum told reporters on Tuesday morning that they got on the bus from Dhaka to go to their village home in Naogaon.
New Age correspondent in Tangail, quoting the district bus workers’ union assistant secretary Ilias Hossain, reported that at least three buses from Dhaka passed through Tangail on their way to different northern districts at the dead of the night following Tuesday.
Ilias said that a few Dhaka-bound buses from Kurigram, Nilphamari and Panchagarah passed through the district in recent days at night.
Ilias said that the buses are plying on roads by coaxing the police.
New Age correspondent in Munshiganj, quoting Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation officials at Shimulia ghat, reported that over 200 microbuses and private cars were waiting at the ghat to cross the River Padma at about 3:00pm on Thursday.
Maowa River Police outpost in-charge Md Sirajul Kabir said on Thursday that all types of transport, barring buses, were running now.
Maowa traffic police outpost in-charge Md Helaluddin said that a total of 1,730 southern districts-bound transports crossed the River Padma in 24 hours ending on Thursday noon.
‘When asked about the reason of their travel, everyone says that he or she had an emergency need. It would better if they are resisted at the place where they begin their journey,’ he said.
A number of microbus drivers said that they were badly in need of money in this situation and operating their transports by managing the police though they knew that there were risks of coronavirus infection.
Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity leader Samdini Khondoker said that a few buses might operate violating the ban beyond our knowledge as many needy transport workers were sitting idle for a long time.
‘We would not be operating any bus even during Eid as the government has decided to extend the shutdown until May 30,’ he said.
Highway police additional superintendent Nazmus Sakib Khan said on Wednesday that they had no news of any bus movement but they were trying their level best to contain the movement of microbuses since many had been plying under excuses of emergency needs.
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