People returning to the capital after the long Eid holidays are experiencing various types of suffering, especially in the southern region of the country, as there are traffic jams on many routes due to a huge rush of passengers, gridlocks at ferry terminals, and extra fares.
Many people in the southern part were stuck in traffic jams for up to 12 hours at ferry terminals. Besides, launches carried passengers more than three times the capacity posing risk of accidents.
Arefin Haque, a private service holder, headed for Dhaka by a microbus after failing to manage a launch ticket at Barguna and Barishal. He reached the Bangla Bazar ferry terminal at 3am but could not board a ferry till 9am. Later, he left the microbus and reached Shimulia by a launch.
"It took over 20 hours to reach Dhaka from Barguna, enduring hassles and paying extra fares. We suffer every year but authorities concerned could not solve the problems," he said.
Shujan Hawlader, who works at a restaurant in Dhaka, reached the capital from his hometown Barishal's Muladi by a launch. He said there was no room to swing a cat in the launch. He somehow managed a place between two cabins.
"The journey was a nightmare as I was sandwiched among the rush of capital-bound people, but that was not the end. After reaching Sadarghat, city buses charged double the regular fares," he added.
Barishal launch terminal authorities said 13 launches left for Dhaka on Friday evening. There were passengers on the deck, stairs, corridors and everywhere.
On the Banglabazar-Shimulia waterway too, passengers and vehicles had to wait for five to six hours to cross the Padma due to a lack of ferries.
Besides, the vehicles that arrived at Daulatdia ghat made up to 10-km-queue on Friday night and vehicles could not board the ferry for 12 hours. As a result, many passengers were seen getting off the bus and walking 8-10 km and boarding a launch or trawler to reach Dhaka.
On the terminal and approach roads of Banglabazar Ghat, at least 400 vehicles, most of them private cars, were stranded due to heavy passenger pressure since morning. An overflowing crowd of Dhaka-bound passengers was also seen at the launch dock.
Faisal Ahmed, Manager (Commerce), Shimulia ghat, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), confirmed that 10 ferries are plying the Shimulia-Banglabazar-Majhikandi route 24 hours a day.
Besides, 155 speedboats and 85 launches were used for passenger crossings, said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Shimulia ghat Officer Shahadat Hossain.
BIWTA Shimulia Port Officer Shahadat Hossain told TBS that 80,000 passengers were transported by 292 launches on Friday.
Regarding charging extra fare, Munshiganj District Police Additional Superintendent of Police Yasina Ferdous Rithi said, "We have already noticed that a few buses are charging extra. They have already been strictly warned that no extra fare can be charged from passengers."
However, there was no traffic congestion at Paturia ghat.
Shah Mohammad Khalid Newaz, Deputy General Manager, Aricha Office, BIWTC, said that at present, 21 ferries are running on the Daulatdia-Paturia waterway.
He added that 9,026 vehicles crossed in the last 24 hours, which is the highest in the last few days. Of these, 2,500 were motorcycles and about 6,000 were cars.
Meanwhile, due to increasing traffic on the Dhaka-bound highway from North Bengal, there was no traffic jam on the road. Compared to other Eids, the return journey this time was much more comfortable, said the passengers.
Traffic movement on the road slowed down due to increasing traffic in the Dhaka-bound lane of Bangabandhu Bridge Western Link Highway in Sirajganj but there was no traffic jam.
Rangpur BRTC Bus Depot official Shahadat Hossain said garment workers came to Rangpur by more than 200 rented double-decker and 100 single-deckers BRTC buses for Eid. These buses ply on different routes in Dhaka. These buses started to return to Dhaka on Saturday.
Similar to the roads and waterways, the pressure of people returning to Dhaka by train at Kamalapur railway station was noticeable. Thousands of people returned to the capital on Saturday. Each train was overcrowded.
As many as 15 trains carrying passengers from different parts of the country reached Dhaka at Kamalapur railway station by noon on Saturday.