Defying the health guidelines as well as lockdown, people, mostly women and children, are crowding markets and shopping malls in the capital and other parts of the country for Eid shopping.
On the other hand, hundreds of commuters gathered at Daulatdia-Paturia and Banglabazar-Shimulia ferry ghats on Monday as people who went to their village homes have reportedly started returning to the capital after the government has eased lockdown restrictions with reopening of shopping malls and markets.Besides, there is no scope of maintaining social distance in the overcrowded vehicles.
People of 21 districts of the south-western region were seen rushing to the ferry ghats for the last few days in private cars, microbuses and CNG-run auto-rickshaws in an attempt to return to their workplaces.
Ordinary passengers are the worst sufferers as they are being compelled to pay extra money for hiring microbuses or auto-rickshaws due to suspension of services of long-distance buses and public transport.
Passengers alleged that drivers of different private vehicles are exploiting the situation by charging more fares.
A private car or a motorcycle is taking Tk 300 per person from Paturia to Nabinagar and Tk 400-500 from Paturia to Gabtoli, they alleged.
Zillur Rahman, general manager of BIWTC’s Aricha office, said ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia waterway have been suspended following strict restrictions imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.However, six small ferries are plying the waterway for carrying vehicles providing emergency services.
In the capital, crowds at different markets and shopping malls have increased sharply, just a day after the government allowed shops and malls to reopen their doors ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr.
At most shopping centres, maintaining health safety is a big challenge due to the heavy rush of customers.
Only a few health safety guidelines were maintained in the markets. Many shop owners and customers were seen with their masks down.
At entry points of some markets, antiseptic mix was sprayed instead of sanitisers.
Besides, there was not enough space inside most of the shops to maintain physical distancing.
Heavy traffic congestion was seen in front of New Market, Mouchak and other shopping malls.
People were seen rushing towards shopping malls in private cars, rickshaws, three-wheelers and even pickup trucks. Police said people in large number are coming out their residents on lame excuse and rushing towards streets, footpaths and kitchen markets.
Private cars, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, microbuses, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and many motorcycles sharing rides on contracts were seen plying the streets like the previous days. Excepting passenger buses, all modes of small vehicles plied different city-streets as usual on Monday.
Health rules were hardly maintained at the kitchen markets while cars, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws moved around freely. In some areas in the capital, severe traffic congestions were created on Monday.
Policemen were not taking any measures against the lockdown breakers.
Witnesses said although the number of vehicles on the city roads was less at the beginning of the lockdown, all types of transport except buses are now seen. Moreover, the movement of people has also increased on the streets despite the strict restrictions on their movement.
In a circular on Friday, the government allowed shops and shopping malls to remain open from 10:00am, prompting many people to return to the capital.
The closing time for businesses was extended from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. With Covid-19 cases continuing to rise alarmingly from mid-March, the government imposed a nationwide “lockdown” for one week from April 5. Later, a week-long “stricter lockdown” was declared from April 14, which has been extended till April 28.