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Long tailbacks on highways as people continue to quit Dhaka

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 26 March, 2020 12:00 AM
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Long tailbacks on highways as people continue to quit Dhaka

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As thousands of panic-stricken people left the capital amid spread of coronavirus in the country, long tailbacks have been created on different highways and ferry ghats.

A 35-kilometre long tailback on Dhaka-Tangail highway that was created on Tuesday evening due to a homebound rush of people, started easing since 10:30am on Wednesday, law enforcers said.

Huge pressure of vehicles, battered road conditions and work on a four-lane highway project are the reasons behind the traffic jam, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, officer-in-charge (OC) of Gorai Highway Police Station.

Sufferings of thousands of people — travelling on buses, trucks and other vehicles — have mounted high since Tuesday evening due to the acute traffic jam on the lanes towards the northern districts from Dhaka.

Selim Miah, a bus driver, said he started from Dhaka around 1:00am for Chuadanga and reached Mirzapur at 6:00am. Faruk Hossain, who was travelling to Rajshahi from Dhaka by a pickup van after not getting a bus ticket, said progress was very slow due to the congestion.

After starting his journey last night, Faruk was stuck at Mirzapur till 9:30am on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, despite a government ban, a large number of people are still leaving the capital through Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route.

As launch services remained suspended, many people were seen crossing the river Padma by some speed boats and engine trawlers on Wednesday morning, ghat sources said.

Thousands of people are crossing the river Padma by speedboats and engine trawlers illegally, risking their lives, sources said.

On the other hand, around 800 vehicles, including trucks, have been waiting for hours at Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry ghat for crossing the river, creating a long tailback. 

Low-paid workers in the capital, however, have been leaving the city by various means amid a high risk of coronavirus infection following the ban on train and other public transport services.

Hundreds of such commuters were seen leaving the city on Tuesday night, occupying the roofs of public buses and trucks in Dhaka’s business hub of Motijheel in violation of the government instructions.