People in large numbers are leaving the capital for their village homes ahead of the countrywide weeklong strict lockdown starting from tomorrow.
Though the government has suspended public transport services including long-route buses, trains and launches, desperate homegoers are travelling by alternative ways.People are travelling in small vehicles including private cars, micro-buses, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and even goods-carrying trucks, paying two to three times higher of the normal fare.
Homegoers have also been thronging the Shimulia and Banglabazar ferry ghats since early morning on Saturday. As speedboats and launches are unavailable, pressure on the ferries remains high, police said.
Thousands of people are travelling on these routes, braving immense sufferings due to a lack of availability of long-distance bus services during the ongoing lockdown in Munshiganj.
The government suspended long-distance bus, train and launch services from the capital from June 23 to check the surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
At the same time, a strict lockdown has been imposed in Dhaka’s surrounding Narayanganj, Manikganj, Gazipur, Madaripur and Faridpur districts, blocking the entry of the Dhaka-bound people.
While visiting different entry and exit points of the capital including Gabtali, Abdullahpur, Jatrabari, Kadamtali and Sayedabad Saturday morning, it was seen that hundreds of people -- many with families –with luggage and other belongings are leaving the capital as they think the lockdown will be extended further. People are also entering Dhaka from the rest of the country.The homebound people are reaching Gabtali by rickshaws or auto-rickshaws. Then, they are crossing the Gabtoli Bridge on foot. From Amin Bazar, they are boarding local buses to reach their destinations.
The number of passengers may increase today (Sunday), a day before the lockdown begins.
In Dhaka-Tangail highway, it was seen that people with heavy luggages are coming to Chandra from different parts of Dhaka, Savar and other nearby areas via whatever vehicles they could find, especially motorcycles and auto-rickshaws. From Chandra, they are taking goods-carrying trucks, pick-up vans and motorcycles. Many of them were seen renting private cars in groups.
Many motorcycles were seen carrying people.
Whenever a vehicle stops at Chandra, hundreds of people are running towards it to get in. And taking the advantage, the drivers are charging them extra fare.
The number of motorcycles, auto-rickshaws and CNG-run auto-rickshaws increased on Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Mawa and Dhaka-Chattogram highways since Saturday morning. All modes of vehicles are also crossing the Paturia-Daulatdia riverway.
Zillur Rahman, deputy director of BTWTC, Aricha regional office, said all the 16 ferries have been prepared as people are rushing to the terminal. Transportation of passengers and vehicles are going on smoothly, he said.
The country will be put under a complete lockdown for Monday. This time, nobody will be allowed to step out of home except for emergencies, said a statement from the Press Information Department (PID) on Friday night.
Later, Farhad Hossain, state minister for public administration, told the journalists that members of the army and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) along with the police would be deployed to ensure proper enforcement of the lockdown.