Staff Reporter :
Thousands of commuters suffered immensely on Tuesday due to a rally organised by ruling Awami League (AL) at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital causing huge traffic gridlock.
AL organised the rally in observation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Homecoming Day.
Traffic policemen were seen to halt the normal traffic, ensuring smooth plying of pickup vans, buses, trucks and other modes of transport carrying rally participants to the venue.
Party workers in vehicles did not pay heed to the traffic advisory put in place for the rally and even they were seen marching ahead to rally venue occupying key city roads, putting pressure on traffic.
Thousands of activists from across the city and its adjacent areas came to join the rally riding various vehicles like buses and trucks.
The road from Shahbagh and TSC of Dhaka University to Doyel Chattar, connecting two major thoroughfares--Farmgate and Motijheel-- was closed for hours in the afternoon forcing thousands of vehicles to make detours to their destinations leading to traffic chaos in the city.
Vehicles were not allowed to ply the roads to ensure security of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was the chief guest of the rally, police officials said.
Businessmen, office-goers and students, who regularly use the route, bore the brunt of the situation. Many passengers got down from vehicles, including buses and CNG-run-auto-rickshaws, and went on foot to lessen their sufferings during the traffic chaos.
"These people always create trouble for us. I have to go the secretariat for official purpose and traffic policemen have diverted my vehicle in various direction," Monir Hossain, a resident of the city's Dhanmondi area, told The New Nation yesterday.
"I was delayed by one hour to reach the Secretariat, causing huge inconvenience for me, he added.
"It is unacceptable whenever any political party holds any programme, the city's traffic department closes roads, ignoring the sufferings of commuters," Sabrina Yeasmin, a student of Dhaka City College, told The New Nation yesterday.
Such a move always creates traffic chaos in the city, she said.
"I had to suffer immensely due to the traffic chaos. It took two hours to reach my Tikatuli residence from my college campus".
Commuters, who suffered due to the AL's rally, said though the traffic policemen were diverting traffic on parallel lanes, it was not enough to control the movement of vehicles.
It was totally out of control as vehicles moved together violating traffic rules resulting in chaos on the roads. Even feeder roads also got blocked due to traffic mismanagement, they added.
They also expressed anger over the blockade of roads whenever political parties hold programmes.
The traffic situation worsened further in the evening when the PM left the venue after addressing the rally.