Dhaka traffic practically came to a standstill on Wednesday – proving yet again how weak the capital's traffic management is – as vehicular movement was restricted on many roads following the arrival of just one foreign guest on the occasion of the 50th Victory Day anniversary celebrations.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, who is the guest of honour at the Victory Day celebrations on 16 December, arrived in Dhaka at 11am Wednesday.
The arrangement of restricted movement on city roads is likely to remain in place until Friday, when the Indian president is scheduled to return home, wrapping up his three-day state visit to Bangladesh.
Heavy traffic has been visible across the capital since Tuesday, when law enforcers started to limit mass movement on the city streets. Commuters, on their regular trips, had to spend three to four times the usual on roads.
On Wednesday, the Higher Secondary Certificate examinees faced extreme sufferings to reach their exam halls in time.
The road from the Panthapath intersection to Dhanmondi Russel Square was totally closed off because of Victory Day celebrations. Similar road diversions were set up in the areas surrounding the National Parade Ground, which is the venue for the main celebration event.
Raisul Haque Chowdhury, a private university official, said it took him over two hours for him to reach Mohakhali industrial area from Moghbazar on Wednesday morning. Everyday commuters have faced similar ordeal throughout the capital.
On Thursday evening Indian President Kovind, who is on his maiden visit to Bangladesh, is scheduled to attend the "Mohabijoyer Mohanayok" event, organised to pay respects to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and reflect on his contributions which laid the foundations of Bangladesh's journey as an independent nation.
DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam, in a security briefing on Wednesday, said, "The president, the prime minister, the visiting Indian president and other dignitaries will attend the events on the occasions of the golden jubilee of independence and birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Their security is our duty, one which is of maximum importance."
Further stressing the importance of this duty, he said, "Duties of this magnitude seldom come. We will give our one hundred percent and more. Ensuring security of the state is a matter of pride, honour and respect for the police force. We are simply focused on fulfilling our responsibilities properly."
The DMP chief said police personnel will be extra vigilant and added that every individual and vehicle will be searched if deemed suspicious.
"There will be no exceptions when it comes to security," the police commissioner added.
DMP Additional Commissioner (Traffic) Md Munibur Rahman said the police are trying their best to ensure trouble-free movement for the Dhaka dwellers.
The DMP traffic official recommended that everyone use alternative roads in places where regular roads are off limits.