Sunday, May 13, 2018 11:16:01 PM
Staff Reporter :
Public transport owners have announced dawn to dusk strike on Dhaka-Chittagong highway today from 6.00 am to 6 pm demanding immediate removal of all bottlenecks on the way for smooth journey to the port city.
The tailback was over 114 km in the afternoon yesterday; as vehicles remained almost totally stuck on the highway failing to make headway towards destination.
Transport owners have also announced a three-hour strike every day from 12 noon to 3.00 pm from tomorrow to keep pressure on the government to act quickly to remove the impasse.
The construction work on a railway overpass at Fatehpur in Feni without taking into consideration the setback that may develop in the highway traffic has been blamed for the disaster on the highway.
But knowledgeable sources said the overpass is very important to save time for transport vehicles on the busy highway. Now the highway has to be closed frequently to allow running trains to cross the highway. Highway police estimate suggests the highway remained closed at least five hours a day in total to allow train crossing. It can't go indefinitely.
The disclosure by communication minister Onaidul Quader on Sunday that the overpass work will come to an end in 25 days however suggest the terrible situation in the highway will have more disastrous consequences.
Despite opening of the four-lane traffic on Dhaka-Chittagong highway, long tailback on the highway remains the biggest worries for commercial transport and passengers traffic causing unspeakable suffering in reaching the port city from the capital.
BGMEA - the garment manufacturers and exporters association yesterday demanded special cargo train service to the port city to reach their export consignment for timely shipment.
President of the trade body Sidiqur Rahman said exporters are facing big setback; as buyers may not take merchandise on time expiry of the shipment schedule.
The highway mainly remained paralyzed from Chouddagram, Comilla to Siakundu section of the highway. The tailback has been blamed on partial closure of the highway for construction of the railway-overpass at Feni.
General Secretary of Dhaka-Chittagong inter-district bus owner association Kofi Uddin lamented the situation saying "what is the benefit of playing the vehicles if they remain struck for 18 to 24 hours on the highway."
He further said, "Drivers and helpers can't sleep, can't take food and drink for long hours. This is an inhuman situation."
"The five-to-six hour trip on the Dhaka-Chattogram route is now taking over 15 to 17 hours. Now people have cancel their trips and turned back for heavy congestion," said local resident at Feni.
Rashed Khan, M A Malek, Additional Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Highway Police, told The New Nation on Sunday, "The congestion, resulting from under-construction railway overpass at Fatehpur railway crossing has triggered the tailback when rains and potholes aggravated the situation on the highways,"
He said at least 44 trains cross Fatehpur rail crossing everyday and they take away at least five hours a day halting the vehicles to wait. The muddy road and brickless side ways are also blamed for slow movement of traffic.
Feni traffic police officer in-charge Mir Golam Faruk, said that Dhaka bound covered van and truck carrying goods took more than 40 hours to reach Mohipal of Feni from Chittagong on Saturday.
The tailback has already reached to Barobkunda of Sitakunda, said Ahsan Habib, officer-in-charge of Bar Awlia Highway Police Station.
Feni Model police station officer-in-charge Rashed Khan Chowdhury said they had distributed packets of biscuits and a bottle of water on Friday and Saturday to people stranded on the highway.
Travelers are facing terrible difficulties and transport owners are facing financial pains. They are burning more fuels and drivers and helpers to be paid overtime when the vehicles remain idle without earning, said an owner.
Many fears this congestion may continues up to Eid vacation. Road communication expert Prof Moazzem Hossain of the Buet's civil engineering department said, "We see puzzled to see the situation even after opening Dhaka-Chittagong highway to a four lane traffic."
"Plying of overloaded vehicles are destroying roads and highways," claimed RHD Chief Engineer Ibne Alam Hasan. He said there may reasons but overloading is causing the biggest harm to roads and highways.
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