Rush back to Dhaka intensifies

No social distancing in ferries, transports

Staff Correspondent | Published: 14:15, May 28,2020 | Updated: 00:07, May 29,2020


People get off a ferry at the Shimulia ferry terminal on Thursday as they return to Dhaka after celebrating Eid outside the capital city amid coronavirus infection risks. — New Age photo

The rush of Dhaka-bound people on major water channels and highways — without social distancing maintained — were seen on Thursday after the celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr amid the intensifying coronavirus calamity.

People from 21 southern districts crowded ferries to cross the River Padma, packed rented private cars and microbuses while many got on goods-laden vehicles towards the capital defying the law.

The people in their mad rush back to Dhaka abided by no social distancing in preventing coronavirus infection.

Earlier on Monday, May 25, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated amid the prevailing COVID-19 situation and prior to the festival thousands of people left the capital in a similar way.

The police on Friday, May 22, had withdrawn all checkpoints at the exit points of Dhaka as well as on the highways ahead of the largest Muslim festival, opening a floodgate for people out of the city.  

Since Thursday morning, the rush back to the city and the nearby cities and towns was witnessed on roads and major water channels.

Our Munshiganj correspondent reported that passengers from the Kathalbari ferry terminal at Madaripur in the morning started crowding the ferries across the river Padma to reach the Shimulia ferry terminal.

The passengers then journeyed on towards Dhaka, Narayanganj, and Gazipur by small vehicles like three wheelers.

Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Shimulia ferry terminal deputy general manager Sirajul Islam said that the pressure of Dhaka-bound passengers was seen all day long.

All together 11 ferries were in service on the channel, he added.

After 9:00am, a huge number of Dhaka-bound people in private cars and on foot started to rush to the Daulatdia ferry terminal to cross the Padma via the Daulatdia–Paturia water channel.

Zillur Rahman, Aricha BIWTC deputy general manager (ferry service), told New Age that the pressure of Dhaka-bound people on cars was increasing.

‘Currently 16 ferries are plying on the channel,’ he added.

Meanwhile people also came to Dhaka by different highways including the Dhaka–Tangail and Dhaka–Chattogram national highways.

In Kodda area of Sirajganj, many people were seen to get on rented microbuses, private cars or motorcycles illegally.

As per the Road Transport Act 2018 carrying passengers in private and goods-laden vehicles are illegal.

Many were seen getting on boats to the River Jamuna and then boarding on three-wheeler vehicles or rickshaw-vans that were relatively cheaper.

In Gazipur intersection, passengers were seen boarding pickup vans.

Passengers were also seen boarding microbuses from queues beside the road at Paduar Bazar point in Cumilla where they did not maintain social distancing.

Passengers were seen on rented private cars, microbuses and motorcycles at Gabtoli point in Dhaka.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s additional deputy commissioner of traffic division (Gabtali) Md Sohel Rana said that the pressure of people coming to Dhaka was less compared to other Eid festivals.

But the pressure increased on Thursday, he said.

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