People are still returning to Dhaka after the Eid-ul-Azha holidays defying restrictions
On the fourth day of the ongoing strict lockdown, the number of vehicles on the streets was low, shops and businesses remained shut but the number of people on the streets was higher than on previous days.
In Dhaka, the main roads were almost deserted with a few vehicles seen - mainly private cars, rickshaws, ambulances and vehicles for emergency service providers.
However, the scene was different in the alleys with a noticeable number of shops kept partially open till police cars arrived.
There were police checkposts on the roads and commuters were questioned by the law enforcers for being on the road, but in many cases police were seen to be not discharging their duties properly.
Police officers said they let those who went out for emergency works like vaccinating, treatment or buying essentials carry on. In some cases, they did not charge people on humanitarian grounds too.
After visiting Banasree, Hatirjheel, Rampura, Khilgaon, Farmgate, Banani, Gulshan and Cantonment areas, it was seen that the main roads were almost empty.
At all entry and exit points of the city, the police have set up checkposts. Besides, RAB, BGB and Army are also patrolling the roads as well as narrow lanes.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that the country was now passing through the worst stage of the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering the situation, the government had imposed strict restrictions on public movement.
All offices and factories had been ordered closed as the government was giving priority to saving lives rather than the economy, he said.
Crowds vanish, shops pull down shutters as cops arrive
At Banasree, almost all the gates which are attached to the main roads are closed. But people are moving by rickshaws, bikes, or private cars, avoiding the main roads as each lane is interconnected with another.
A shopkeeper in Banasree was sitting outside his shop and the shutter of his shop was half-open.
When asked why he was shopping outside he said: "At any time, the police might arrive and then I could run after pulling down the shutter quickly. That is why I'm sitting here even though I'm sweating under the sun.”
From early morning, hawkers start to sell their products on vans in this area but run off with their vans when they hear the siren of police cars.
Sub-Inspector Shahriar at Rampura Television Centre checkpost said: "Everyone has an excuse. Most people say that they will go to the hospital or bank. Regarding this issue, nothing is in our hands as it is not possible to verify the actual cause instantly. But we are trying our best to monitor people's activities."
Till 1 pm, 10 cases were filed and Tk21,000 were fined at Rampura Television Center Checkpost, Sergeant Mehedi Hasan informed.
Passengers, private vehicles allowed on ferries despite lockdown
Hundreds of passengers and private vehicles continued returning to Dhaka via the Daulatdia ferry terminal since Monday morning in violation of the ongoing lockdown.
Many of these passengers were not even wearing masks let alone follow other health guidelines, reports our Rajbari correspondent following a visit to the ferry terminal in the morning.
“A limited number of ferries are plying for emergency service vehicles. However, some passengers and private vehicles are also boarding these ferries along with the emergency service vehicles. They were not asked to disembark due to humanitarian reasons,” said Shihab Uddin, Daulatdia ghat manager of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC).
Meanwhile, due to the closure of public transport on the highways, passengers heading to Dhaka are getting on the Dhaka-Aricha highway via bypass roads by paying high fares on various rental vehicles, including private cars, auto rickshaws, three-wheelers and motorcycles.
These passengers are later boarding the ferries at the Daulatdia terminal; and all the while, police were seen patrolling the highways and enforcing the lockdown, ensuring health guidelines, controlling traffic and interrogating commuters.