Eid vacationers start returning to city

A large number of people has started to return to the capital city Dhaka from across the country after enjoying the holy Eid-ul-Azha festival holidays in their respective village homes.

According to witness, most of the people are seen to be travelling back to Dhaka by water vessels, trains and buses without properly maintaining health safety guidelines or physical distances.

On the other hand, strong currents on the river Padma and Meghna and the inclement weather are disrupting ferry movement and journey by roads.

Since Tuesday morning rush of Dhaka-bound vehicles were seen at Daulatdia ferry terminal to cross the Daulatdia-Paturia water channel. The same scenarios were noticed at Kathalbari launch terminals. 

Zillur Rahman, a deputy general manager (ferry services at Aricha office) of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), said that some people were still leaving Dhaka on the day. 

Md Abdul Alim, BIWTC Manager (commercial) at Kathalbari terminal, said that due to strong current on the river they were operating fewer ferries on the route.

He also said that the pressure of Dhaka-bound passengers and passengers from Dhaka was moderate on the day.

Alamgir Kabir, a joint director of the BIWTA, said, “Till 1:00 pm on Tuesday around 150 launches arrived from southern districts at the Sadarghat launch terminal in Dhaka.”

He said the number of Dhaka-bound passengers would increase from today (Wednesday).

At Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal in the capital, many buses were found returning with passengers mainly coming from northern and southern districts on the day.

Some of the passengers alleged that many long-distance transport operators were realizing fares at 50 per cent more than the usual fixed fare defying government directives.

Most of the passengers on launches and ferries were seen violating the government directives of maintaining physical distances and wearing a face mask.

Meanwhile, any of the returning passengers travelling on roads expressed suffering as many parts of the highways remained submerged in floodwaters.

It should be mentioned that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the number of people, who have left Dhaka to celebrate the Eid festival in their village home, was fewer compared to the last Eid-ul-Azha.

For the same reason, the city streets were not completed deserted during Eid as noticed in previous such Eid holidays. Scores of buses, microbuses, private cars and autorickshaws hit the streets even during the Eid vacation.

However, the government service holders had been directed not to leave Dhaka during the vacation as well as most of the people had also been discouraged to travel due to the pandemic.