Defying all odds, people in their thousands started leaving the capital for homes in different parts of the country on Wednesday to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr festival with their near and dear ones.
Amid a state of uncertainty about safe and hassle-free home journey, people swarmed to bus and launch terminals and railway stations in the capital to go home.Buses, trains and water vessels left for different destinations, carrying additional passengers. Many people were seen travelling on the rooftop of buses and trains, risking lives.
Though a three-day Eid holiday will begin on June 15, people started leaving the city on Wednesday as the day was a public holiday on the occasion of Lailatul Qadr falls.
Many private and government employees managed to take leave for Thursday to make it a five-day vacation. Eid holiday will be extended by one day if the moon is sighted on June 16.
Sources at the authorities concerned said taking into account mad rush of homebound people, adequate measures have been taken to ensure hassle-free Eid journey.
Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said Eid journey will be more comfortable than any other time in the past as highway police remain active.
“There is no traffic congestion on Dhaka-Rajshahi, Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet highways. Problem created on southern route as ferries in Paturia are transporting vehicles very slowly due to incessant rain but it is manageable,” the minister said.While visiting Kamlapur rail station, our correspondent saw that the number of people leaving the city is more than that of Tuesday. Almost all trains have left the stations for different destinations on time and reached Dhaka on time.
Railway Minister Mujibul Haque visited Kamlapur rail station on Wednesday to see for himself train journey of homebound people.
He said only two trains were late in departing the station but 30 trains departed on time.
“Five pairs of special trains will give services to the homebound people during Eid journey,” he said.
Buses from Gabtoli terminal left timely, but holidaymakers were seen waiting at Sayedabad and Mohakhali terminals due to traffic jam at some points of the highways.
Siddiqur Rahman Patwary, general secretary of Bangladesh Inland Water Ways association, all types of security measures have been taken to ensure safe journey of people.
Many homebound people, while talking to the daily sun, claimed that launches are carrying passengers beyond their capacity.
“Some vessels are charging extra fare. Their ecurity equipments are not sufficient,” an aggrieved passenger said
Mokter Hossain Bhuiyan, a launch owner, said it is quite natural that vessels are carrying more passengers than regular time as vessels do not carry goods during Eid.
A passenger Billal Hossain said, “We have to pay Tk 100 as fare during Eid for sitting on launch deck.”
Tickets for journey by domestic airlines which operate flights on seven domestic routes have almost been sold out and passengers had to pay double the usual fare.
Huge crowds are seen at Hazrat Shahjalal Airport. A good many are travelling by to avoid traffic congestion on roads and highways during Eid.