Wednesday, 29 September, 2021

People returning to capital amid fresh lockdown

Law enforcers are trying to check flow of Dhaka-bound people

People returning to capital amid fresh lockdown
A large number of city people, who arrive at the capital’s Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Friday morning after celebrating Eid-ul-Azha at their village homes, walk on a street to reach their destinations in the absence of vehicles amid the fresh strict lockdown. —Reaz Ahmed Sumon

A large number of people, who went to celebrate the Eid-ul-Azha festival with their near and dear ones at their village homes, are returning to the capital amid the fresh strict lockdown.

People who got trapped in long tailbacks on highways and ferry ghats are also coming to the city.

Law enforcers, including police, RAB, BGB and Bangladesh Army, took position at different key points, including entry and exit points.

They are working to stop flow of the Dhaka-bound people as well as vehicles.

In the capital, most of the streets were seen empty and commuters were walking to their destinations during the lockdown that began on Friday. Some rickshaws were also seen plying different city-streets on Friday.

Many commuters were seen returning from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on foot in the absence of public vehicles. Earlier, many people left the capital to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha at their village homes after the government had relaxed the ongoing strict lockdown for eight days from July 15.

Members of the army and police were seen at different check posts asking people to wear masks. Some rickshaw-pullers were also given warning for carrying multiple passengers.

Alongside Dhaka, law enforcers in south and south-western regions, including Faridpur, Kushtia and Jashore, have taken hard-line against the lockdown as well as health rules violators.

Superintendent of Police (SP), Faridpur Alimuzzaman said, “We have already instructed all our police forces to go for tough action against the lockdown breakers.”

“Police are seriously trying to enforce the government declared lockdown in my district. Simultaneously, we are also campaigning to create public awareness against the current surge of the coronavirus,” the top police officer of the district said. Meanwhile, passengers and all kinds of vehicles, including motorcycles, private cars and microbuses, have been crossing Paturia-Daulatdia and Kathalbari-Shimulia ferry terminals since Thursday morning in violation of the lockdown.

Many passengers said they left the house for urgent work and would not have gone out otherwise.

Saleha Begum, returning from Magura, said that she started for Dhaka with her two children at 9:00pm on Wednesday and reached Daulatdia ghat at midnight. Even after waiting the entire night, they could not get on the ferry.

This has been the case for many people rushing to return to Dhaka on the eve of the 14-day lockdown that is being enforced from Friday morning.  Apart from public transport, private vehicles were also seen crowding the ferry ghats.

"In addition to the vehicles carrying emergency goods, patients and many others are using ferry service. However, other vehicles, including that of passengers, arrived at Paturia Ghat from Daulatdia Ghat in Rajbari till Friday noon," said Tania Sultana, additional superintendent of police (Shibalaya circle).

"These vehicles were stuck at Daulatdia Ghat since Wednesday night. They have been permitted to cross the ferry for humanitarian reasons," she said.

According to the government order, the ferry has been kept ready for emergency service vehicles. However, some passengers and other vehicles are also boarding the ferry along with the emergency service vehicles.

They were not asked to disembark due to humanitarian reasons, said Zillur Rahman, deputy general manager of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Aricha regional office.

The government kept isolated the capital from its surrounding Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Faridpur, Rajbari, Madaripur districts through suspending movement of all long-distance buses, rails and launches to stop flow of the second wave coronavirus.

At the same time, many people from the capital were also seen leaving the capital towards these coronavirus hotspots in the same ways.

During their movement, most of them were seen ignoring health guidelines, including maintaining social distance and wearing face masks.

Bus, launch, and passenger train services were cut off with Dhaka city in a bid to protect the capital from a wave of infection from the border districts. The health care system in Khulna and Rajshahi was on the verge of becoming overwhelmed.