Schedule disruption delayed Eid journey

Capital takes a deserted look

Thousands of homebound holidaymakers experienced immense sufferings on Saturday due to schedule disruption in both railway and highway transportations. On the other hand, as most of the city dwellers have left Dhaka, the capital has become desolate and devoid of its characteristic crowds. Almost all the city roads are free from heavy traffic movement now. Shopping malls, markets and elsewhere are now almost quite. Those who were yet to leave Dhaka were seen thronging different rail, bus or launch stations.

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) authorities rearranged schedules of different trains deferring times for eight to 16 hours due to the delay in the arrival of trains in Dhaka from different parts of the country, As a result, all the bus terminals and counters as well as railway stations in the capital remained overcrowded daylong with thousands of stranded passengers. Besides, passengers also had to remain stuck on highways for hours amid scorching heat. Highways

All the bus terminals in Dhaka, including Gabtoli, Sayedabad and Mohakhali as well as bus counters at Shyamoli, Kalyanpur, Motijheel, Arambagh, Jatrabari and Kalabagan remained overcrowded daylong with hundreds of passengers. Along with women and children, they had to wait for their buses for four to six hours.

Bus owners and employees said, buses on different routes could not arrive Dhaka on time due to traffic congestion on different highways. Holidaymakers bound to northern districts had to face immense sufferings due to long tailback on Dhaka-Tangail highway. It took five to six hours to cross Tangail only. Traffic movement on the highway got slowed down since Friday night. The tailback was formed extending from Chandra to Bangabandhu Bridge.

Accordingly, several hundred vehicles remained stuck at Shimulia ferry terminal on the banks of the Padma River in Munsiganj. Officials of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) said, the harbour was crowded by a large number of homebound travelers since morning. A total of 17 ferries and more than 300 speed boats transport passengers along the water route, he said.

According to witnesses, there was no bus plying the route as of 11am on Saturday. But over 300 private cars, trucks and other vehicles remained stuck near the harbour. A large number of Eid holidaymakers had to struggle to catch launches and speed boats at the Shimulia Ferry Ghat on Saturday morning. However, Obaidul Quader, Minister for Road, Transport and Bridges, said, journey of holidaymakers on Saturday was more comfortable compared to the first two days of Eid travels.

He said, he did not receive any information about traffic jam. Vehicles could not reach the destinations on time and passengers had to wait at the terminals amid sufferings due to slow movement of vehicles.

Rescheduling of departure time of several trains from Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka for eight to 16 hours resulted into immense sufferings for the passengers. They had to wait at the station for hours for their train. Under the fresh schedule, Panchagarh bound Ekota Express left the station around 11:55am instead of 10:am on Saturday. Accordingly, Sundarbans Express left at around 2:20pm instead of 6:20 am, Dhumketu Express left at around 5:30pm instead of 6:00am, Nilsagar Express left around 6:10pm instead of 8:00am, Rangpur Express and Lalmonirhat Eid Special train left at around 10:35pm and 11:15pm, which were scheduled for 9:00am and 9:15am respectively.

Apart from those trains, western-bound several trains were also late for around one hour than their scheduled time of departure. Delays and rescheduling of trains resulted into immense sufferings to homebound people on the occasion of holy Eid-ul-Adha. Railway officials said arrivals of trains were delayed due to the derailment of Khulna-bound Sundarban Express near Bangabandhu Bridge in Tangail on Friday. They were forced to rearrange the train schedule for the same reason, they said.

However, the scenarios at the Sadarghat Launch terminal was found different compared to the railway and highway transportation system. Although heavy crowed was seen at the terminal, there was no allegation of delay or schedule disruption.