It was 11:00am Monday and health assistant Babul Ahmed stood waiting from transport at Lalkhanbazar in Chattogram. He works at a private clinic at the city’s Probortok intersection. He had worked in the night shift and was now making his way home. He was waiting long for transport, but to no avail and finally began to walk. He walked 2km to Lalkhanbazar. His house was still 8km away at Saltgola.
As it wouldn’t be possible to walk all the way, Babul was waiting for transport, but nothing appeared even after an hour. Another 15 to 20 commuters were waiting there like him.
A week-long lockdown commenced in the country from 6:00am Monday in a bid to bring the spread of coronavirus under control. The government had said that there would be strict control on public work and movement in this period. No public transport would operate. However, offices would be opened to a limited extent for essential work during the lockdown. The government instructed all concerned establishments to make arrangements for their respective employees’ transportation.
Chattogram’s streets were teeming with people during the lockdown. Some were walking and some were going by rickshaw to their destinations. Some were in their own cars. There was hardly any public transport on the streets. But motorcycles and CNG-run auto-rickshaws were visible. Commuters were suffering on the streets.
At around 10:00am, quite a few rickshaws as well as motorcycles were seen at Andarkilla in the port city. They were waiting for passengers. Hafiz Ahmed had come out with his motorcycle in the lockdown as he had no alternative. He had to earn a living and was hoping for some passengers.
Belal Uddin was walking in Teribazar of the city. He said they had a tailoring shop in the Cinema Palace area. His elder brother had spent the night in the shop and now Belal Uddin was taking him his lunch. He was walking as no transport was available.
The municipal Zahur Hawkers Market of the city is usually crowded with a constant traffic jam on the road in front. On Monday the area wore a desolate look, with all shops of the market closed. Some shops nearby in the Cinema Palace area remained open.
There was a long queue of clients in front of Agrani Bank in Jamalkhan. People had also formed a long line in front of the TCB truck to buy essentials.
The kitchen markets had been overcrowded the last two days, but on Monday the kitchen market was relatively empty. This was the same at the Kazir Dewri market and Chawk Bazar.