The monsoon rain has taken a huge toll on the roads of Dhaka city. The Tuesday and Wednesday rains were nothing short of livid nightmares for commuters.
What it did was wash away the government’s tall promises on tackling waterlogging during the rainy season.
The torrent, coupled with a poorly-structured traffic system, placed the citizens in great difficulty over the two days.
Traffic moved at a sluggish pace on the busiest roads and the innermost lanes.
Seven times more rain than expected
Bangladesh Meteorological Department recorded 103mm rainfall over 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday, which is seven times more than the forecast.
“The rainfall may have been unexpected, but it is very common during monsoon,” Mizanur Rahman, an official of Bangladesh Meteorological Department told the Dhaka Tribune.
Dhaka under water
Students, officegoers and anyone who went out of their houses found themselves stuck in traffic, held up by knee-high waters that refused to recede.
“It was so bad! It takes me 45 minutes to travel from Uttara to Mohakhali. It took me three hours instead,” Masud Rana, a businessman, said.
“The inside of the buses were hot and cramped as people fought to get inside,” he added.
Sabbir Hasan, an employee at a cement company, said it took him over four hours to reach Moghbazar from Savar.
“The vehicles were moving at a sluggish pace due to excessive tailbacks from Technical intersection to Prime Minister’s residence and Asadgate to Farmgate area,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Almost the entire city including Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Mohakhali, Farmgate, Panthapath, Dhanmondi, Shahbagh, Paltan, Motijheel, Kakrail, Rampura, Gulshan and Banani experienced severe traffic jams because of the waterlogging.
Rois Uddin, a traffic sergeant at Karwan Bazar, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Vehicles cannot move as most of the roads are flooded by the downpour. We can barely keep the traffic in order.”
Students and women suffered the most. Many students could be seen going to schools and colleges with their pants folded up to their knees.
A number of office goers complained that the CNG drivers and rickshaw-pullers charged exorbitant rates to exploit the situation.
Furthermore, the knee-deep “pools” caused several vehicles to break down on crucial stretches, leading to more chaos and stubborn gridlocks.
Ratna Alam, a resident of West Rajabazar, attempted to go to Monipuripara with a rickshaw but its wheels got stuck in a pothole on the street.
“I was heading towards my son’s school. The rickshaw-puller could not see the pothole as the road was submerged. I am just glad that we got away unharmed,” she said.
Less public transports, more private vehicles
Since early in the morning, hundreds of people could be seen waiting for public buses throughout Dhaka as the number of buses dwindled down and more private vehicles appeared to be increasing in number.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a transport worker said when the roads become submerged, many drivers avoid driving in such conditions, hence the shortage of buses and tempos during heavy rains.
Deepa Zaman, one of the many sufferers, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I waited for more than an hour at Farmgate from 9:00am but found very few public transports with too many people onboard.”
“I paid a microbus Tk50 to drop me in Mohakhali,” she claimed.