With the fast approaching of chilly winter accompanied by deep fog, a long tailback on the highways leading to ferry stations has become the daily scenario that is taking a heavy toll on the passengers.
The roads connecting the ferry terminals of Daulatdia and Paturia witness almost every day a heavy congestion of traffic across the mighty river Padma.Alone on Thursday, there was a 20-kilometre-long tailback on Dhaka-Chattogram highway stretching along Daudkandi upazila of Cumilla.
Hundreds of vehicles, mostly passenger buses and goods-laden trucks remained stuck on the roads.
The tailback occurred on both sides of the highway as vehicular movement failed to keep up its normal pace since Tuesday night due to the ongoing development work of Meghna, Gumti and Kanchpur bridges associated with dense fog, said Abul Kalam, officer-in-charge (OC) of Daudkandi Police Station.
Traffic police have been trying to ease the situation, added the OC.
The police official, however, said the situation will be normal soon.
According to Cumilla Highway Police, the traffic jam began to occur since Tuesday afternoon, and it spread out to around 30-32 kilometres by Thursday on both sides of Meghna-Gumti Bridge, and continues to cover more areas.Police pinned the blame on the construction on Meghna, Gumti and Kanchpur bridges and the agitation of garment workers near the Meghna Bridge.
He added that police are working to bring the traffic movement back to normal.
A Dhaka-bound businessman Jakir Hossain said he set out for Dhaka from Cumilla in the early hour of Thursday, but still could not reach Daudkandi by noon.
Mohammad Abdul Awal, a businessman from Comilla, echoed the same as Jakir.
He said trading has slowed as businessmen are unable to reach Dhaka because of traffic congestion.
Last week, a three-kilometre-long tailback took place near Daulatdia Ferry Station in the wake of ferry shortages.
Thousands of passengers of the country’s southern region have been facing immense sufferings while crossing the mighty Padma River since Friday morning.
The dense fog is causing disruption to regular ferry services while vehicles filled with capital-bound passengers remain stranded on either side of the roads across the river.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) sources said a total of 17 ferries in Rajbari, Daulatdia and Paturia routes were plying to ease the situation, but ferry ‘Madhabilata’ went out of order on Monday.
As a result, a three-kilometre-long tailback was created on the highway leading to Daulatdia ghat from Friday morning, said BIWTC Manager Shafiqul Islam at Daulatdia office.
The problem got worse as a huge number of people started returning to Dhaka following the national election, he added.
Besides, commuters are suffering much due to the prolonged tailback on Dhaka-Bogura highway under Shajahanpur upazila of Bogura district for many days that have so far failed to draw the attention of the authorities concerned.
In addition, illegal bazaar on the way is also causing untold sufferings to the commuters and smooth movement of vehicles.
The commuters vented their frustration, saying that the illegal makeshift kitchen markets beside the highways create problem to easy movement of highway traffic as people move across the road at their own sweet will.
“I can’t reach Madrasa timely because of long tailback on this highway every day,” said Md Al Amin Hussain, a lecturer of Mathematics Department of Nagar JM Fazil Madrasa.
“School and college students bear the brunt of the tailback. They cannot reach their institutions on time,” he added.
Several government officers who commute to and from their workplaces every day vented their anger, saying that the traffic jam has become the constant companion of their life.
They said it kills their time and energy, and hampers their regular work.
According to the lawmen, illegal vehicles ply on the highways, thus causing tailback.
They claimed that they are trying to resolve the situation.