Government must give priority to Eid-time travel

Published: 00:00, Aug 20,2019


IT IS deplorable that people returning to Dhaka after Eid remain as exposed to sufferings as they were when they left Dhaka. Sufferings of Dhaka-bound train passengers intensified on Sunday. For the fourth consecutive day, most trains on northern and southern routes were late by up to 13 hours. Since morning, thousands of people had reached Kamalapur railway station by trains while almost all trains on Panchagarh, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Lalmonirhat and Khulna routes were delayed. For example, the Rangpur Express on the Rangpur-Dhaka route was running at least 12 hours and 50 minutes behind schedule. The Nilsagar Express on the Chilahati-Dhaka route was running nine hours and 16 minutes behind schedule. This delay should be attributed to dilapidated railway, as railway officials said.

In Paturia and Aricha ferry station areas, bus company staff continued to charge fare three to four times higher from Dhaka-bound passengers when many of them opted to travel by trucks, pickup vans and modified utility vehicles risking their lives. Thousands of passengers of south and south-western districts began to throng Paturia and Aricha since Sunday morning while they had to pay extra to go to Nabinagar, Savar and capital Dhaka. Nabin Baran and Jatri Sheba Paribahan charged up to Tk 250 from each passenger on the Aricha-Gabtoli route instead of Tk 60. Some of the passengers waited for hours before they could begin their journey. All rules and regulations take leave of all during the Eid-time journeys and all sorts of blatant violations of safety regulations become the order of the day. The road transport and bridges minister’s statement that all rundown roads would be repaired before Eid to ensure a smooth and safe journey sounds hollow as the reality suggests otherwise. Because of recent floods and low-quality repairs and the ongoing construction in many places, highways, bridges and railways have become dilapidated in many areas, which have disrupted even return journeys. It has unfortunately become commonplace for the past few years that despite dilapidated roads and highways, authorities wake up from their slumber to repair them only before Eid. Hurried repairs are also done at the cost of huge public money compromising with the quality.

While the government must put in more efforts to make Eid-time travel as smooth as possible as for the three days before the festival as much after the festival when people get back to the capital city. The government must also take a lesson from the sufferings of travellers and resolve to formulate and execute short- and long-term plans to afford travellers some relief in future.

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