Many homebound people have started leaving the capital for their village homes to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones.
On Tuesday, a large number of city dwellers left the city to avoid the eleventh-hour rush before the Eid festival.
Some of the major highways are already witnessing tailbacks due to potholes, ongoing works to upgrade roads and road accidents.
On the other hand, launches plying the river routes are carrying passengers above the usual capacity.
Most of the bus terminals, railway stations and launch terminals were found jam-packed on Tuesday.
A large number of people were also seen at the Kamalapur Railway station all day long leaving the capital.
On the other hand, many homebound passengers were sufferings due to shortage of transport. Even taking risk of life, passengers are crowding buses, trains and launches beyond their carrying capacity as there is no other alternative to travelling to go to their respective destinations.
Eid-ul-Fitr, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Muslims, will be celebrated in the country either on April 22 (Saturday) or April 23 (Sunday) subject to the sighting of the Shawwal moon.
The public holiday for Eid-ul-Fitr is from Thursday (April 20) to Monday (April 24), but people are already leaving the capital in order to avoid transport-related hassle.
Tuesday was the last working day for government employees. Highway police said heavy pressures of vehicles were seen on all the highways as thousands of people have been leaving the capital to celebrate Eid with their family members and relatives.
Ticket counters of SA Paribahan, Hanif, Nabil, Shyamoli, Agomoni, Bablu, Pabna Express, Shohagh, Golden Line, Darshana Deluxe and many others were overcrowded with people leaving the capital.
RoshanYazdani, Officer-in-charge of Bangabandhu Bridge West Police Station, said around 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles pass through Bangabandhu Bridge every day. The pressure of vehicles became doubled during Eid which creates problems.
“Although the official holiday of Eid started from Wednesday, the pressure of vehicles increased on the Bangabandhu Bridge since Tuesday afternoon. And compared to last year, he thinks the pressure of vehicles will increase this year,” he added.
In-charge of Elenga Highway Police Outpost Zahid Hasan said, “Vehicle movement was stopped on the highway for some time due to the road accident in Bangabandhu Bridge East Thana area. The cars were later removed by wreckers. This causes traffic jams on the highway in the early hours of the morning.”
However, although the traffic on the highway is normal, the traffic pressure has increased. Traffic pressure on the highway increased on Tuesday compared to the last few days.
“Tuesday is the last working day of government employees. As a result, there will be more traffic on the highway in the afternoon. Apart from this, the traffic pressure on the highway will increase several times if there is a garment holiday. However, the police are ready to deal with traffic jams on the highway” he added.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) on Tuesday started ferry services to carry motorcycles on Shimulia-Banglabazar route on Padma River.
The first ferry ‘Kalmilota’ left Shimulia ferry terminal number four in Munshiganj with 169 motorcycles for Shariatpur’sMajhikandi at 6:50am on Tuesday.
BIWTC’s Shimulia Terminal Manager (Trade) Jamal Hossain said that during Eid journey, the people of southern part of Bangladesh from different parts of the country, including the capital Dhaka, will return home via Shimulia terminal.
Due to the suspension of motorcycles on the Padma Bridge, two medium ferries are being used to carry motorcycles on Shimulia-Majhikandi route to ease the suffering of passengers.
The fare was fixed at Tk150 for motorcycle crossing and Tk30 for passenger crossing. If the pressure increases, the number of ferries will be increased.
Motorcycles will be transported on ferries subject to need and until further notice after Eid.
After the inauguration of the Padma Bridge on June 25, 2022, the ferry service was suspended on the route.
A large number of passengers were seen at the train station on the last working day before the holidays while trains are leaving Kamalapur Railway station a bit late.
On the second day of the Eid journey on Tuesday at Kamalapur Railway Station, this correspondent found that there was some delay in departure of the train from Dhaka. Rajshahi-bound Dhumketu Express left 20 minutes late on the first day and 40 minutes late on the second day. As a result, the next inter-city trains also have to be delayed.
Kamlapur Railway Station Manager Masud Sarwar said, “A few trains are delayed. But a gap of few minutes cannot be called a delay. Besides, other trains are leaving on their scheduled time. And during Eid, there is more schedule pressure in railways. All arrangements have to be made to serve the passengers.”
Regarding the Chattogram route train, he said, “There was a delay on this route on Monday due to the accident. Tuesday it came down. Gradually it will become normal.”
A large number of home goers were leaving the capital through launch.
Dilapidated highways, cheaper fares and lower time consumption force more passengers to prefer waterways despite great risks in journeys by overcrowded vessels before Eid vacations.
According to the state-run Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), the capacity is not more than 0.15 million per day but 0.3 million people will sail towards their homes daily.
Kabir Hossain, inspector of the Department of Maritime Safety and Traffic Management under the BIWTA, said, “All preparations have been made to make Eid Journey smooth and safe. During the last Eid season, an average of 68 launches per day operated on 41 routes in the southern region. However, due to the decrease in passengers, it has been decided to operate 46 launches this year. After that, if there is pressure, special trip will be arranged.”
Additional IGP of Naval Police Md Shafiqul Islam said, “On the occasion of Eid, a large number of passengers from Dhaka metropolis will go to different parts of the country to celebrate Eid. Legal action will be taken if extra fare is collected from the passengers.”
He said this at a press conference organised on Tuesday at the Naval Police Outpost of the capital’s Sadarghat launch terminal on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr regarding the special preparations of the naval police to facilitate the Eid journey of homebound passengers.
“In order to avoid accidents and safety of passengers during Eid, we have announced the suspension of all types of bulkheads from April 20 to April 27. During this time, no bulkhead will operate in the waterway. We have sent this information to all our Naval Police outposts. They will always supervise,” he added.