Government has allowed people to return to their villages using private vehicles to celebrate Eid
People have continued to leave Dhaka to celebrate Eid at their village homes but the crowd was thinner than the previous days as no mass transport was available due to the ongoing restriction on public transport.
After a suspension due to cyclone Amphan, ferries have resumed operation and people were seen crossing rivers on ferries to rush to the southern districts. However, the number of vehicles was lower than usual.
The government has decided to allow people to use personal cars and microbuses to leave Dhaka for Eid holiday and a verbal instruction regarding the matter was given to police by the government on Thursday.
However, The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) during their regular health bulletin on Friday once again urged people not to go home and infect family members there.
Amid the nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the standing directives are that people should stay put at the place they are in during the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.
But ignoring all this, people are returning to their village homes by various means to celebrate Eid with their loved ones, turning a deaf ear on the directives.
Now, those who have their own transport such as a microbus or a private car can go to their village homes this Eid, and will not face any obstacles. However, those who tried a few days back were denied and sent back to Dhaka by the law enforcement agencies.
The government instructions said those who were facing difficulties to go to their villages, would be allowed to use their own mode of transportation. People can also walk back to their villages if they wish to do so.
Garment worker Sadekur Rahman was trying to go to his village home in Manikganj’s Singair to celebrate Eid from Dhaka’s Malibagh. He was seen waiting at the Gabtoli Bus Terminal area for any mode of transportation.
“I have no one in Dhaka. The garment factory is closed. I must go. I could share a private car if anybody offers. But the price is too high,” he said.
Law enforcers have relaxed the checkposts at the exit points of Dhaka. At Gabtali and Sayedabad-Jatrabari area, they are only checking if the home-goers are wearing masks.
Our Gazipur correspondent reported that holidaymakers, mostly garment workers, took battery-run auto-rickshaws on link roads or went on foot by the highway to reach their destinations as there was no public transport.
Police were seen checking good laden trucks for passengers and offloading them. Cases have been filed against the drivers of those vehicles.
The home-goers faced plights and had to spend manyfold of money than the normal time. Many holidaymakers returned to their house failing to get any means of transport.
On Friday, a private company official was going to his village home in Comilla’s Chauddagram with his family in his own car.
Seeking anonymity, he said there is no work in Dhaka except sitting at home. That is why he prefers to stay in his village home with the parents and other family members.
A number of home-goers were seen waiting for shared transport in Gabtoti and Jatrabari area. There were queues of motorcycle for passengers of shorter distances.
Deputy Commissioner (Mirpur division) Mostak Ahmed of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said they had received instructions that anyone can enter or leave Dhaka in microbuses and private cars - that is, in their own transport.
People can also walk back to their villages if they wish to do so, he added.
Meanwhile, at a press conference on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed said people headed home were creating obstacles at ferry terminals and steps would be taken to send them back to Dhaka.
However, with Eid nearing, there is a rush of people on the roads. People from Dhaka, Gazipur, and surrounding districts have started going back to their villages.
Rafiq Alam, general manager of Dhaka Tours Rent Car Association said, “Suddenly the demand for sedan cars and microbus went up. In the past few days, the police used to stop passengers and ask questions, but the situation is now better.”
Meanwhile, the transport users said the rent is high as law enforcers are only allowing private vehicles on the road.
Rukunuzzaman with four family members said they rented a private car for Tk 9,000 to go to Faridpur.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation’s (BIWTC) Deputy General Manager (ferry services) at Aricha office, Zillur Rahman said homebound people are taking ferries in different small vehicles and motorcycles.
“More than 600 small transports are waiting at Shimulia ferry terminal including goods-laden trucks, cars, microbuses, ambulances, and motorcycles,” he told this newspaper in the evening.
Cars, microbuses, three-wheelers, and motorcycles are on the Dhaka-Mawa Expressway to avail ferry services without any traffic congestion, said Prafulla Chauhan, assistant manager of BIWTC at Shimulia terminal.