Holidaymakers who returned to Dhaka on Friday morning after celebrating Eid-ul-Azha at their home towns or villages underwent tremendous suffering as all modes of public transports remained suspended amid pre-scheduled 14-day strict lockdown that came into force at 6am on the day.
While visiting the Gabtoli and Sadarghat areas of the capital, The Business Standard saw many people, after not finding any public transport upon their arrival, leaving for their destinations on foot while some others were hiring rickshaws or vans.
Although rickshaws and vans were on the road, the fares they were charging were several times higher than usual.
On the first day of the fresh phase of strict restrictions, most of the roads in the capital were empty. On the day, a small number of personal cars, rickshaws and vans were seen plying the roads.
However, in the morning, all the entrances to the capital were crowded with inbound people.
"Brother, we're suffering a lot. Rickshaws are demanding Tk400 to go to Bangshal from Gabtoli. So, we've started walking," said one Abdul Baten who came from Faridpur.
The man was carrying two large bags. He also had his wife and children with him.
"I'm feeling exhausted carrying all the bags and baggage this way. We took a little rest twice in two places."
Asked why he came with his family despite knowing about the lockdown, he said, "What else can I do without coming to Dhaka? What will we eat sitting idle in the village? I sell vegetables in a van in old Dhaka. I can sell vegetables in lockdown and can manage to survive with my family."
Another traveler named Shaon Mridha told TBS that he got down from the launch at 6.30 am and came to Gulistan on foot. From there, he came to Moghbazar in a rickshaw.
After that, when he took a rickshaw from the Satrasta area, the police stopped the vehicle.
"As no rickshaws or CNG-run auto rickshaws were allowed to go from Satrasta, I came to the Airport area from there on foot. I came to Tongi from there by a rickshaw paying 10 times higher fare.
"Many have come to Tongi on foot. Many have also walked towards Gazipur. Police also stopped the pedestrians several times at check posts on the street."
Jamil Khan, who came from Sadarghat with his wife and two children, told TBS, "We walked for the first half hour and then stopped for a car. After waiting for a while, we hired a van and came to Shahbagh. Then, we had to walk to Farmgate."
ASM Mahtab Uddin, deputy commissioner of Mirpur Division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said, "Vehicles such as buses and rented cars are emptied by the police and the passengers are being allowed to enter Dhaka on foot."
"Even then, we are checking if these Dhaka-bound people are wearing masks and maintaining social distance," he mentioned, adding, "The vehicles are either sent back or parked in the terminals near the checkpoints."
Mahtab further said the police check-posts of these two spots are allowing owner-driven private vehicles, who had set out for Dhaka last night.
Speaking to TBS, Masud, employee of a private company, said he was forced to travel all the way from Barishal via Paturia as his workplace is still open.
"I travelled by a bus to Aminbazar. Then, we were stopped and later were asked to walk," he said while seeking alternate transports.