Final home rush begins
Suffering of home-goers eased a bit as traffic congestion decreased on highways connected with Dhaka two days before Eid-ul-Azha, but the concerned authorities expect some congestion at night as Eid holidays begin from Friday.
Though the situation improved all throughout the day, the flow of vehicles increased after sundown as it was the last working day in the garment and other factories and the government offices before the Eid on October 27.
Vehicles on long-distance routes such as Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet moved a little faster than the previous days, but the shortage of ferries at Paturia point caused a long tailback.
Lengthy traffic congestion took place on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in the morning as a goods-laden truck went out of order on Gumti Bridge.
Unlike the last few days, most of the long-route buses left Dhaka in time on Thursday but the buses heading for the southern districts through the Paturia-Daulatdia ferry point were late by three hours due to the long tailback at the ferry point.
The minister for communications, Obaidul Quader, said, ‘I feel sorry for the suffering of the homebound people due to congestion on highways. We are trying hard to maintain order for ensuring smooth movement of passenger buses and cattle-laden trucks.’
The minister admitted that mismanagement was one of the reasons for the gridlock in some places on the highways and ferry terminals. Moreover, many drivers do not maintain discipline while driving, he added.
People were seen waiting for buses at different bus terminals but the counter-masters said most of the buses left Dhaka in time as the situation improved a bit on the day.
Kabir Hossain, counter-master of Shyamoli Paribahan, told New Age that the tailbacks on the highways from Dhaka to Rajshahi, Naogaon and Rangpur decreased from Wednesday night so they are not facing any problem in scheduling buses for the passengers.
The situation on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway improved after Wednesday night and they were able to start theirs trip in the scheduled time, said Abdur Rahim, counter-master of Unique Paribahan.
‘I had to wait for about 2 hours from 11:00am to get a bus for Magura,’ said Jannat Mim, a passenger.
Most of the buses heading for the southern districts like Khulna, Barisal, Jessore and Chuadanga could not begin their journey on time due to interruption at Paturia launch terminal and tailback on the highway at Savar and Aminbazar, said Ratan Ahmed, counter-master of Eagle Paribahan.
‘Our bus was delayed by two to three hours because of the tailback,’ he said.
Reports from Paturia said there was a long tailback of buses and cars at the Paturia ferry point at around noon, though it was almost free in the morning. ‘As soon as the pressure of buses and cars increased we stopped boarding trucks on ferries,’ said Ashrafullah Khan, manager of BIWTC’s Paturia ferry station.
He expected the passenger vehicles to be transported easily if no ferry goes out of order.
Our correspondent in Tangail said that the Dhaka-Tangail highway was almost free on Thursday due to lesser flow of vehicles from Dhaka. The bus counter attendants in Tangail said most of the home-goers left Dhaka a couple of days earlier than usual and it caused easy flow of vehicles on the highway.
But the transport staff said traffic flow might increase at night after garment factory workers go on festival holiday.
Hundreds of people started rushing to the Sadarghat launch terminal in the morning. Many of them complained that the launch operators were charging extra fare.
There was a huge rush of passengers to the Kamalapur Railway Station who were trying to get standing tickets as tickets of all express trains were sold out earlier.
The New Age correspondent in Comilla said that traffic movement on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway was almost normal on Thursday.
The superintendent of the eastern zone highway police, Mohammad Rezaul Karim, also told New Age that the traffic flow was almost normal on Thursday. At a few points vehicles moved slowly but there was no long tailback.
Reports from Munshiganj said vehicles tailed back for 30 kilometres in the morning from Gajaria to Daudkandi as a truck went out of order on the Gumti Bridge at around 10:30am, and the tailback continued till noon.
Daudkandi highway police sergeant Mehedi Hassan said that traffic movement stopped on both sides of the Gumti Bridge when a goods-laden truck became inoperative while crossing it.
The police removed the truck with the help of a wrecker, resulting in resumption of vehicular movement at around noon.