Eid passengers flock to terminals, ferry ghats

Long tailback on Dhaka-Tangail Highway

20 July 2021

News Desk :
With only a day left for Eid-ul-Azha, the Shimulia ferry ghat in Munshiganj is crowded with people looking to go home for the holiday. Despite the risk of the coronavirus pandemic, people are still setting off across the Padma River to make their way to their families.
Sixteen of the 19 ferries and 86 of the 87 launches on the river route are currently in operation. A few ferries have been left out because of the strong current and one launch has been barred by the authorities because its papers have not been updated. But even the addition of two ferries has not been enough to meet demand, reports  bdnews24.com
.The ferries are covering three to four kilometres while fighting a strong current and an increase in the water level, taking more time and using up more fuel on each trip. Passengers and vehicles are waiting to make the crossing.
The ferries are having trouble navigating the turbulent Padma waters, said Md Shafiqul Islam, an assistant general manager at BIWTC.
"Ferries are making fewer trips because some of them can't run and it is taking longer to complete each trip," he said. "That's why the port is congested with vehicles."
At least 500 vehicles were stuck waiting to make the crossing at Shimulia.
Though launches have been ordered to take half their capacity of passengers, most of them are taking excess numbers. The crowds on the launch piers left barely any space to move.
COVID-19 cases and death counts have surged across the country, but few seem to be following health protocols at the port.
Smaller launches are taking too many passengers despite the strong currents on the Padma, said Mawa River Police Outpost chief Sirajul Kabir.
A police control room was set up on the launch pier to try and control the crowd, but the law enforcers have had little success in dispersing the crowd.
Meanwhile, a 17-kilometre- long tailback has been created on the Dhaka-Tangail-Bangabandhu Bridge highway since early Monday as home-goers are busy returning respective village homes to celebrate Eid.
The north-bound passengers are facing woes due to severe traffic jam on the bridge to Rasulpur in Tangail Sadar Upazila, reports news agencies.
Elenga highway police outpost in-charge Yasir Arafat said, "The highway is full of vehicles ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. But there is no traffic jam."
Superintendent of Tangail police Sanjit Kumar said about 603 highway police are working to control the traffic.
The tailback was seen on the highway for the last few days due to passengers' rush.

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