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Vibrant Dhaka wears unfamiliar look during lockdown

Published : 02 Jul 2021 09:54 PM | Updated : 03 Jul 2021 01:23 AM

Roads in Dhaka have been 'noticeably empty' for the restrictions imposed from July 1. A few of the office-goers, out of the restrictions, didn't have to move on Friday. The rainy weather, in addition, makes the busy capital look unfamiliar.

While visiting Mirpur, Shyamoli, Mohammadpur and Tejgaon areas of the capital on Friday, this correspondent experienced an unrecognizable city. Only rickshaws, media, medicine and police patrol vehicles were plying the roads. It goes without saying that people hardly were out of their residents. Those who didn’t have a choice but to move for emergency were out in the streets.

Sajidul Alam was riding a rickshaw from Mirpur-12 to visit his sick brother at Mirpur-1. He told Bangladesh Post, “I came out on an emergency work. Usually, this distance can be reached by bus. But due to the closure of public transport, the rickshaw fare of Tk 70-80 has now become TK 250.”

In case of facing trouble from law enforcers on the way, he had the necessary hospital documents to show. He said that he had travelled the day before showing those.

In addition to the strict lockdown announced by the government, movement of the people was even fewer, as it had been raining since the dawn of the weekly holiday on Friday. However, many went out to say the Friday prayer at noon. But they did not come to the main roads and gathered in the alleys.

According to a rickshawpuller Mohammad Shamim, who was waiting for passengers at Mirpur-12 bus stand, “This lockdown is maintained strictly. Police are detaining people and filing cases. There are no people on the road for fear of this.”

Along with the police and the RAB, the army, the BGB and mobile courts are on the ground to enforce this lockdown. They are taking action if they find any anomaly. Pedestrians wandering around unnecessarily are also being penalized.

Major Sadman Shawmik Rifat, who is in charge of the patrolling army in Gulshan and Banani zones of the capital, told Bangladesh Post, “Basically, those going and coming from abroad, and those under emergency services are considered out of our penalty.”

Due to the strong position of the law enforcers, the number of unnecessary traffic on the second day of the ban has decreased a lot. There are checkposts at different corners of the streets in the capital. People leaving the house are being asked, “Where and why are you going?”However, masks have been seen on the faces of almost everyone who came out.

Police officers on duty at the checkposts said that since morning, the people and drivers of vehicles have shown logical reasons to have come out. So, they are being allowed to go. 

As there is no movement pass system, the required work documents or the ID cards of the employees working in the organizations exempted from the restrictions are being allowed to move. 

Moreover, the presence of people and vehicles has decreased due to rains since the holidays and in the morning.

They said many people have already been arrested, detained, prosecuted and fined in the capital. Therefore, no one is going out without urgent need for fear of this.

‘Shut down’ has been going on across the country since June 28 to curb coronavirus transmission. However, from July 1, all-out lockdown is ongoing all over the country including the capital. However, the emergency services are open. In addition, garment factories, banks and capital markets are also open.

According to the notification regarding this ‘shut down’, all government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices will remain closed during this period. Roads, railways and waterways engine run vehicles including public transport are on a halt as well.