The launch and bus terminals, and railway stations in Dhaka witnessed a huge rush of home-bound people since Saturday afternoon as the government announced a seven-day countrywide lockdown from Monday to check the spread of coronavirus.
Alongside the long queues of home-bound people at Kamalapur railway station, passengers who wanted to return their advance tickets were seen crowding there from noon.
Mostly low-income people are leaving the capital.
Ajmal Hossain of Gaibandha used to run a betel leaf-cigarette shop in the capital. After the announcement of the lockdown on Saturday, he was seen leaving for home with all his belongings.
Arriving at Kamalapur station around 4pm, he was seen waiting to board any of the North Bengal-bound trains.
He told The Business Standard, ''If the business is closed due to lockdown, there will be no way to survive in Dhaka. As a result, there is no option but to go home.''
This correspondent talked to about 10/12 other passengers, all of whom were students and low income people, were waiting at Kamalapur railway station.
They said vehicles are likely to be stopped during the lockdown, so they are leaving Dhaka for home earlier.
Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan told the media in the afternoon, no passenger train would be allowed to operate during the lockdown. However, emergency food and goods-carrying trains will run at this time.
Long queues of people to return tickets at rail station
The long queue of people who wanted to return advance tickets was seen on Saturday. Many came to the station to pick up Saturday and Sunday's tickets after returning the advance tickets.
Rajshahi-bound Silk City passenger Abdul Quader said he collected advance tickets for Monday. However, due to the lockdown, he wants to return this ticket and leave Dhaka for home today (Saturday).
''However, if I can't avail the ticket of 5 April, I will go by road,'' he said.
Regarding the overall issue, Kamalapur Station Manager Mohammad Masud Sarwar said, "From those who bought tickets for 5 April or later, we are taking it back. But we can't make any arrangements for those who want to go immediately as the crowd is much bigger."
Although it is forbidden to enter the station without tickets, many people are getting on the train without tickets in various ways. As a result, trains were leaving the station packed with passengers, he added.
Huge rush at the bus terminals
After the announcement of the lockdown, the capital's Mohakhali, Gabtali and Sayedabad bus terminals also witnessed huge crowds of home-bound people.
Passengers complained that none of the buses are complying with the 50 per cent seating.
Additionally, they were being charged more than the fare fixed by the government, they also alleged.
Mohammad Tuhin, manager of Shah Fateh Ali Paribahan, which operates buses on various routes from Mohakhali to North Bengal, told TBS that for a few days, 50 percent of the tickets were sold for transporting passengers. "However, since Saturday afternoon, the rush of passengers is so high; we are being forced to sell 100% of the seats."
Abul Kalam, general secretary of the Inter-district Bus Owners Association, told TBS: "Some buses are taking more passengers considering the extra pressure of passengers."
However, the complaints made by the passengers are being taken into consideration, he added.
The Sadarghat launch terminal, like the bus and railway stations, was also seen brimming with home-bound people.
As observed, there are no effective measures for compliance with health guidelines or maintaining social distance at railway stations, bus and launch terminals to prevent spread of coronavirus.