The ticket-seekers blocked the Karwan Bazar intersection causing severe traffic congestion in the adjacent streets
Several hundred Bangladeshi migrant workers have staged demonstrations, blocking the Karwan Bazar intersection in Dhaka, protesting over failure to get tickets to return to their workplaces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The ticket-seekers blocked the busy thoroughfare around 9:30am on Tuesday causing severe traffic congestion in the adjacent streets for about an hour.
Like the previous day, a huge number of migrant workers gathered in front of the office of Saudi Arabian Airlines at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka since morning to get new tickets, and started holding demonstrations later.
Many of the migrant workers said they need to return to their workplaces in the Middle Eastern country immediately as their visas or work permits will expire in September and the next month.
Hatirjheel police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Abdur Rashid said a number of law enforcers were deployed in the area to maintain law and order and the situation is now normal.
In March, the kingdom suspended international flights to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
On September 15, Saudi Arabia announced that it would partially lift its suspension on international flights to allow "exceptional categories" of citizens and residents to travel.
Md Shah Alam, a migrant worker, told Dhaka Tribune that he returned to Bangladesh from the kingdom in November last year and got stranded due to the pandemic.
Recently, the authorities of his company asked him to join the workplace by September 30.
"I came to Bangladesh with a return ticket from the airline. Due to the corona [Covid-19] the flights were suspended. Now the airline is supposed to renew my ticket charging some extra amount of money. Like me, hundreds of workers have been waiting for tickets.”
"But, seeing the activities here, I am afraid that I might not return to Saudi Arabia by this month and might lose my job as well," he said.
Another stranded migrant worker Toyebur Rahman also echoed the same apprehension.
He, however, demanded the Bangladesh government take necessary action over the matter immediately.
On Monday, Biman Bangladesh Airlines said Saudi Arabia finally gave a green light to the airlines to operate flights to and from the country from October 1.
In a statement, Biman Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said landing permission is required before beginning of seat allocation, but the kingdom is yet to approve it.
"As a result, it is not possible now to announce the flight and start allocating seats for passengers."
The flight will be announced as soon as landing permission is received and all concerned, including the passengers, will be informed, he said.
The ticket-seekers are advised not to crowd unnecessarily at the counter before the flight is announced, he added.