People, mainly factory workers, in droves returned to the capital on Sunday after the government eased the lockdown restrictions.
After the daylong mad rush of people, the government on Saturday night decided to allow operations of public transport, including buses and launches, to facilitate the return of workers to work.
With huge rush of the Dhaka-bound people as well as vehicles, a long tailback was created on Dhaka-Tangail highway near Western side of the Bangabandhu Bridge.
Many of the passengers were also seen boarding trucks—paying extra fare and not following health safety rules.
After the government allowed all export-oriented industries and factories to reopen from Sunday, workers started crowding different river channels, including Daulatdea-Paturia, Banglabazar-Shimulia and Kazirhaat-Aricha ferry ghat, since Saturday.
Due to the heavy rush, most of the ferries were unable to carry vehicles. They were crossing the river with excessive passengers.
The sudden government decision left thousands of workers in the lurch.
Due to the huge rush, the vehicles were moving very slowly on the bridge, the highway police said, adding that the highway and district police were trying to keep the situation under control. The rush of workers will continue for a couple of more days, police said.
“I run a small business,” said Sufian, who came from Chandpur along with his wife and two children. “I decided to come back after the government announcement.”
Launches were operating from Sadarghat on six routes (Chandpur, Shariatpur, Bhola, Muladi and Barguna), said Dinesh Kumar Saha, a transport inspector for the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
The BIWTA has decided to continue launch services till 6:00am today.
It has extended the deadline as many workers were yet to reach their work areas, Rafiqul Islam, director of (Marine Safety and Traffic Management) of BIWTA, said.
A circular from the Press Information Department (PID) on Saturday night said public transport would be allowed to operate till Sunday noon to facilitate the workers’ return to work amid the nationwide lockdown.
Alongside, the government allowed the authorities concerned to resume the public transport services for 16 hours to facilitate the workers of the export-oriented factories to join duties.
The government informed BGMEA that all types of public transport would be open from 8:00pm on July 31 to 12:00 noon on August 1 (Sunday).
Following the announcement by the government to reopen export-oriented industries and factories from Sunday (August 1) amid an alarming rise in Covid-19 infections, garment workers are in a rush to return to Dhaka city in masses.