Privately-run vehicles ruled the city roads on Saturday as the government seemed reluctant to implement the ongoing ‘lockdown’ in a stricter manner.
Witnesses said traffic police remained inactive on roads while police members were also sitting idle at the check posts.As traffic police remain inactive on roads in implementing the restrictions, many vehicle owners do not bother to take the movement pass, introduced by the police, to ensure people’s hassle free journey during the lockdown period.
Sources said considering the livelihood of the people, the government has taken a policy to ease the restrictions on movement gradually so that the low-income people can manage their meals through work.
Taking the opportunity, people who went their village homes during the lockdown started returning to the capital again to join their workplaces.
Witnesses said thousands of people, mostly low-income groups, were seen coming to Dhaka from various parts of the country as the shopping malls open today.
As public transport remained suspended, they were riding on trucks, pick-up vans and other modes of transport.
On Friday, the government decided to reopen all shopping malls, shops and markets across the country from April 25.The shops at the malls will remain open from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Bus owners are also pressing a demand for resuming the public transport from April 29 after the government decision of reopening the markets.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the government is considering resuming the public transport on conditions and maintaining health guidelines in public interest amid the ongoing lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government is working on a plan to allow the public transport to resume operations once the current lockdown is over,” he said.
Amid a fresh surge of the coronavirus outbreak, the government decided to seal everything by imposing restrictions on transport services on all routes, shut down all public, private offices and shopping malls till April 28 to contain the spread of the deadly bug which so far killed over 10,952 Bangladeshis since the first death was reported on March 18 last year. The country has been undergoing the lockdown in phases since April 5 but the daily earners hardly get support from the government and the effluent quarter this time.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 21 allocated Tk 10.50 crore in favour of deputy commissioners of the country to provide assistance to the poor, distressed and insolvent people who have been affected due to the ongoing lockdown that the government enforced for containing the spread of coronavirus.
Source said the government asked the administration to go slow in implementing the restrictions for the sake of the masses.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain on Friday said that the government would not enforce any strict lockdown in the country at the end of the ongoing lockdown on April 28.
“Restrictions on movement will be relaxed gradually. But 'no mask, no service' will strictly be ensured everywhere. We will ensure that people from lower to higher tier are using the mask," the state minister told newsmen.