Police ban on Dhaka’s gateways relaxed

Though emergency measures underscore the gravity of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ban imposed by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on the entry and exit of people and transports to and from the capital Dhaka has become ludicrous due to its ineffectiveness.

Although the ban had been imposed before one and a half months ago with a view to preventing coronavirus spread, the decision is now limited to papers only. The real picture depicts open and free movement of people and transports to and from Dhaka. Police search or intervention is almost absent as people as well as transports either leave from or enter into the capital. .

Since there is no alternative to enter into the capital or leave it without crossing the bridges on different rivers, immediately after the lockdown was imposed police had installed check posts on different bridges located at Kanchpur, Postogola, Babubazar, Basila, Gabtoli, Birulia, Tongi, Kanchan and Demra. All these entrances have connected the capital Dhaka to all the districts in the country.

At the beginning of the corona outbreak, restrictions had been imposed on the entry of all persons excepting for those who are engaged in medical work, agricultural production and transportation of daily commodities and emergency goods. Only those vehicles involving emergency services were allowed to leave to enter the capital Dhaka. But at present, there is no limitation in the movement for any people or transports.

During a random visit to Gabtoli Bridge on Friday, it was seen that the police check post, which had been installed for searching purpose, was no more active there. Although police personnel were patrolling there, people and transports were seen moving for 24 hours without any restriction.

Although only the emergency transports are supposed to move, but all kinds of vehicles, even the sand carrying lorries, are also moving frequently.

However, a traffic police officer named Asadur Rahman, who was found on duty on the Easter side of Gabtoli Bridge, claimed that they were working as per the directives from their higher authorities.

One Rafiqul Islam, who was found entering Dhaka on foot by the Gabtoli Bridge from Savar, said he had gone to Mograkandi earlier and now he was returning Dhaka. “Now there is no more checking or restriction like earlier”, said Rafiqul.

The same scenario was also found in Bachhila Bridge area. The bridge connects Keraniganj Upazila with the capital Dhaka, but there was no police checking and patrolling.

A tea vendor said that police patrol was removed from there since last May 6. “Now anybody can move to anywhere without any question or restriction”, said the tea vendor.

It should be mentioned that not only the entrances to Dhaka have been freed, most of the garment factories, offices and shopping centres have also been opened amid the outbreak of deadly COVID-19. The lockdown has been relaxed at a time when the number of people infected by the virus and also the death toll is rising geometrically every day.

As per the latest information, the total number of people found infected by COVID-19 in Bangladesh was 20,065 and the number of death was 298. As per the global information, a total of 3,02,376 people from 187 countries already died and more than 4,442,163 people have been infected by the deadly virus.

Since vaccine could not be found yet, the people across the globe have been asked to remain safe and secure through maintaining social distance. That is why lockdown is imposed by almost all the countries, Bangladesh seems to be different from all others.