Hassle of office-goers intensifies amid a ban on public transports and non-cooperation by employers
As Bangladesh went through the second day of the latest spell of the lockdown, vehicular movement across Dhaka city saw a significant rise as compared to that on the opening day of the restrictions.
Thousands of commuters, mostly apparel workers and office-goers, came out on the city streets to go to their respective workplaces despite heightened monitoring by law enforcers.
Some busy roads even saw traffic congestions as they were before the eight-day lockdown, which ends on April 21.
The matter caught the attention of netizens, many of whom posted photos of traffic congestions in parts of the city on some social media groups.
Police put up barricades across the capital city, including residential areas, to halt and discourage a random breach of the lockdown by people going out of home.
The law enforcers deployed additional forces in this regard, which was noticed in several areas of Dhaka city in the morning.
They were so desperate to check unnecessary movement of people that almost everybody crossing a check-post had to face interrogation even after availing a “movement pass” issued by the police.
At Rampura intersection, traffic police sergeant Sabina Yeasmin said: "People and vehicles are being barred on the roads for not possessing movement passes.”
She vowed that not a single person would be allowed on the road without a movement pass.
Garment workers demand transport service
Even though the government has mandated that factory authorities would have to transport respective employees, there was almost no response from them.
Apparel workers in groups were seen heading to factories on foot as their offices did not provide them with transport and also due to a ban on public transports during the lockdown.
The situation appeared as a “double trouble” for them.
Due to the embargo on vehicular movement, many turned to rickshaws and vans, but were being forced to pay at least double the regular fare and defy health rules.
Hosne Ara, a readymade garment worker, said she was stuck in a gridlock alongside the hassle while going to her office.
Expressing similar sentiments, another apparel worker, Yesmin Akter, said that if there had been an official or special transport system, health rules could have been properly followed.
The two women demanded that their employers comply with the government order to facilitate transportation for them.
The scene in residential areas
As the day progressed, a rush of customers and vehicles, mostly cars, was seen at ATM booths and eateries in residential areas.
Iftar items were being sold at some makeshift shops erected on the streets in defiance of the order of the authorities concerned.
Soon after 5pm, areas such as Rampura, Badda, Khilgaon and Malibagh started to get crowded not only by Muslims, who were fasting, but foodies thronging the restaurants and eateries to buy various Iftar items, caring little about health norms.
Munshi Abdur Rahman, the owner of Banasree Kabab and Restaurant, said he had requested customers to buy their favourite food items by maintaining health rules, but hardly anybody paid heed.
Rampura police station officer-in-charge Abdul Quddus Fakir said the police were carrying out their responsibilities in maintaining health rules strictly.