People are still returning to Dhaka amid health risks in search of livelihood after the Eid holiday though inter-district buses, trains and launches have remained closed due to the lockdown.
People are coming to the capital by different vehicles, paying exorbitant fares as there is a restriction on long-distance vehicles to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.Crowds of people returning to Dhaka were seen in Sayedabad, Jatrabari and Aminbazar areas of the capital on Saturday. In various ways, people are returning by bus, truck, auto-rickshaw with extra fares.
While visiting Gabtali and Aminbazar areas on Saturday, this correspondent found that people from Faridpur, Jashore, Rajshahi, Pabna, Sirajganj, Bogura, Gaibandha and other districts are coming to Aminbazar in buses, trucks, microbuses, private cars and autos. From there they came to Gabtoli by foot and entered the capital.
Public transport from Savar, Manikganj and Paturia areas are coming to Amin Bazar and unloading passengers. These buses are not being allowed to enter the Dhaka metropolitan area, said Moazzem Hossain, a traffic police in Amin Bazar.
Tiles mason Md Sumon said, “I went to my village home in Rajshahi after my sister died. On the way, I rented a microbus without much suffering. But while returning to Dhaka, I have to suffer with my younger brother and aunt.”
“I have come by microbus from Rajshahi to Ashulia of Savar. The rent of per person was Tk 1,200. The microbus driver dropped us off at Ashulia. From there I came to Amin Bazar by bus and on foot. My aunt fell ill while walking in the unbearable heat. Now I have to go to Shyamoli from Amin Bazar,” he added. Md Dulal is an employee of a chicken shop. At the end of Eid holiday, he came to Aminbazar from Rajshahi with his family.
He said, “I have come to Aminbazar from Rajshahi with my family, sometimes by bus and sometimes on foot. I have come to Dhaka to join the work after suffering so much at the end of the holiday. Now I will go to Jatrabari.”Electrician Abu Jafar said, “What kind of restrictions it is? Long-distance vehicles have been kept closed, but almost everything open. Ordinary people are suffering due to the ongoing restrictions.”
Asked why he went home after suffering so much, Abu Jafar said, “There are wife, son, daughter and mother at home. So I went to my home to do Eid with my loved ones, even in Corona.”
Yakub Ahmed, an official in a garment factory, who is coming from Shariatpur, said, “I changed my vehicle and came to Mawa by ferry. Then I crossed the ferry and came to Mawa, changed my vehicle again and then came to Jatrabari. I celebrated Eid with everyone at home. We have to accept the reality of Corona. But everyone has to be careful.”
Passengers complained even though the ferry is running well enough, there is a transport crisis after landing at Shimulia Ghat. The vehicles that are running are asking for extra fare.
They said that CNG-run auto-rickshaws, easy-bikes, motorcycles, rented private cars and pickup vans were being found outside Shimulia Ghat. Their destinations are as far as Jatrabari, Kadamtali and Postagola in Dhaka.
The normal time fare from autorickshaw from ghat area to Postagola bridge is Tk 150, where Tk 300 to 350 is being taken now. The rent of Kadamtali is Tk 80 to 100. Now Tk 200 to 250 is being taken there.
Faisal Ahmed, Manager (Commerce) of Shimulia Ghat of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) said, “Our ferries have been and we are miking, everyone should follow the hygiene rules. But the passengers are not listening. Ambulances and hearse vehicles are being passed on a priority basis.”