Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday urged people not to go to their village homes secretly during upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr violating the ongoing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
“Many people are taking the opportunity of travel despite the lockdown. Don’t go to village homes secretly during Eid,” he said.Quader, also Awami League general secretary, said this while addressing a programme at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital marking the distribution of relief among poor people.
He joined the event organised by Awami League Relief and Social Affairs Subcommittee virtually from his official residence on the parliament premises.
Quader came up with the remark as the government has extended the lockdown until May 16 apparently in a bid to prevent the exodus of home-goers during Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious
festival of Muslims, which will be celebrated either on May 13 or 14 subject to appearance of the moon.
A notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Wednesday extending the lockdown says the officials of all government, semi-government, autonomous and private organisations, banks and financial institutions cannot leave their stations during the Eid holidays.
Citing the tragic speedboat accident in the Padma River that left 26 people dead, he urged all to remain alert so that there is no recurrence of such accident. “The government can be fooled but death can’t be fooled. If such a risk is taken, the tragic death becomes inevitable before the festival. So, I urge all not to take such a risk,” he said.Mentioning that life comes before livelihood, the minister said the joy of festival is meaningless if life is lost. “If you survive, you can enjoy many festivals in future. Everyone should be careful so that the Eid journey doesn’t become the last journey of life,” he added.
Criticising Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), he said Awami League leaders and activists have stood by people but BNP is shouting against the government and it could not set an example of standing by the people in this difficult time of coronavirus.
Quader said no government after 1975 has been able to set an example except Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s one.
The AL spokesperson alleged that BNP has been engaged in conspiratorial activities over every issue. “Even they’re inciting violence during the crisis period of coronavirus pandemic."
Awami League Presidium members Matia Chowdhury and Abdur Rahman, Relief and Social Welfare Secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, Health Secretary Dr Rokeya Sultana and Education Secretary Shamsun Nahar Chapa were, among others, present.