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Dhaka Tribune

Traffic gridlock intensifies in Dhaka as political parties unite for movement

  • BNP, Awami League both hold rallies in Dhaka
  • Large traffic jams have paralyzed the flow of vehicles at key intersections
Update : 18 Oct 2023, 09:47 PM

The gathering of 36 political parties, including the BNP, engaged in a simultaneous movement against the government, caused severe traffic congestion in various parts of the capital city. 

Large traffic jams paralyzed the flow of vehicles at key intersections like Motijheel, Paltan, Gulistan, and Dainik Bangla. 

Additionally, traffic slowed to a crawl in areas such as Shahbagh, Malibagh, Panthpath, and Green Road. 

Commuters were left waiting for public transport at locations like Kakrail Mor and Shantinagar assembly point.

Since Wednesday morning, the city's residents had been grappling with extensive road congestion, and this issue only escalated as the day progressed.

Jasim Uddin, a 35-year-old resident of Lalbagh in Old Dhaka, who works in the marketing department of a private company, found himself trapped in a traffic snarl at Shahbagh intersection around 3pm. 

He said: "Today, political rallies are taking place on various roads, and we've been stuck for hours, struggling to navigate through the traffic jams."

Billal Hossain, traveling from Badda to Gulistan on Victor Paribahan, shared his daily traffic woes, mentioning that, irrespective of political events, he usually encounters traffic congestion except on Fridays. 

He said that when there is a political rally in or around Paltan, traffic jams tend to build up towards Shantinagar and Mouchak. On this particular day, there were fewer cars but more traffic gridlocks.

A mass gathering in front of the BNP central office in Naya Paltan had been ongoing since midday, with activists from various parts of Dhaka converging with banners and festoons. As the day advanced, the crowd swelled, leading to massive traffic jams on surrounding roads.

Commuters found themselves waiting for public transport for extended periods, prompting many to take to walking to their destinations in the absence of available vehicles.

Traffic police noted that the movement of people had significantly increased around the rally sites, adding to the existing traffic congestion.

Newton, a traffic officer in the Banglamotor area, explained that vehicles had to stop at signals for a brief period, a daily occurrence around his area. This traffic pressure is primarily caused by the movement towards Kakrail and Paltan, with a slight slowdown observed in these directions as well.

Addressing the issue, architect Iqbal Habib noted that in neighboring cities like Kolkata and Delhi, political events are typically held on the outskirts or in suburban areas, involving a broader spectrum of people. 

They managed to avoid such extensive traffic jams. In contrast, major political events in Bangladesh are often concentrated in urban, commercial areas, exacerbating the sufferings of the general population, he said. 

Habib stressed that the solution is well-known, but there seems to be a lack of action.

In response, Zainul Abedin, deputy commissioner of the Ramna Traffic Division in Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), acknowledged that the ongoing political programs had led to increased movement of people in the surrounding areas. A high concentration of people was particularly noted in Shantinagar and Kakrail, causing traffic disruptions. 

He said: “Apart from Shantinagar, other areas are currently functioning normally, but the situation in the afternoon remains uncertain. Efforts are being made to keep traffic flowing smoothly on the roads.”

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