A visit to the Banglabazar ferry terminal Sunday morning saw people streaming to the terminal from various districts of the south. They were arriving in CNG-run auto-rickshaws, microbuses, easy-bikes, motorcycles and all sorts of transport. The four approach roads were jammed with cars. The ferries leaving for Shimulia were all crowded with passengers crossing the river Padma. Most of the passengers were not bothered about health and hygiene rules.
Liza Akhter, a passenger from Khulna, said, “I work at a garments factory in Chattogram. There are no buses from Khulna to Chattogram. We are suffering with no public transport. We have to make our way here by microbus and other vehicles at exorbitant fares. But things were fine at the ferry terminal and I could easily board the Enayetpuri ferry. It is crowded, though.”
Dhaka-bound passenger Imon Hossain is returning from Gopalganj. He said, “The factories open from Monday and so I have to reach Dhaka by today. I spent Eid with my family and am now returning to work.”
Sakib Hasan is returning from Barishal. He said, “With long-haul buses halted, we had to change our vehicles four times on the way to the terminal. This is tedious and the fares are ridiculous. This isn’t preventing coronavirus, it is just harassing the passengers.”
Traffic police inspector at the Banglabazar terminal, Md Ashiqur Rahman, said, “People are returning to Dhaka after the Eid holidays. The pressure of passengers has been mounting since the morning. There are more people than vehicles on the ferries. The upazila administration, police, ansars and fire service members are controlling the vehicles and passengers at the terminal. Most of the cars arriving along the approach road are private cars and we are ensuring these board the ferries the moment they arrive.”
* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir