According to Jatri Kalyan Samiti, an estimated 8 million people are expected to travel from Dhaka to their home districts during Eid. If we include the neighboring areas of Narayanganj and Gazipur, this number may reach 12 million. Additionally, a significant number of individuals from other cities, including Chattogram, will be journeying to their hometowns. This calls for extensive preparations to accommodate such a large influx of travelers.
Whether travelling during Eid will be safe and sound or not, depends largely on the measures taken by the relevant authorities. Eid travel has already begun, and this year the government has extended the Eid holiday by one extra day to facilitate the commuters. The holiday will start on 27 June and continue until 30 June. Since 1 July falls on a Saturday, this effectively provides a five-day holiday.
Every year, the Eid journey is a hassle because the number of passengers exceeds the available vehicles. Seats on buses, trains, and launches become scarce. Among the available options, trains are considered the safest and most economical mode of transportation.
However, the condition of railways in Bangladesh has remained poor for some time. Although the number of trains has slightly increased recently, it is still inadequate to meet the high demand. If the train schedule is adhered to properly, it can significantly reduce the sufferings of passengers. Conversely, any disruptions or delays in the schedule can exacerbate their difficulties.
It is important to remember that people primarily rely on roads and waterways for their Eid journey. With the launch of the Padma Bridge, the number of passengers traveling by ferry in the southern region has significantly decreased. This means that the long waiting hours for ferries at the Daulatdia-Paturia ferry terminal during Eid, which was a common occurrence in the past, will no longer be a major issue. However, it is crucial to exercise extra caution, especially considering monsoon.
During Eid, the risk of traffic jams escalates due to the increased number of vehicles on the road. If proper road management is not implemented, it can lead to an unbearable situation where vehicles remain stuck for hours. Such congestion not only causes inconvenience but also poses as a risk of robbery or hijacking. Unfortunately, in the previous Eid, a number of people lost their lives at the hand of robbers.
To prevent such unfortunate incidents, it is imperative for law enforcement agencies, particularly the highway police, to be highly vigilant during this time. They should be active round the clock to ensure the safety of commuters.
During Eid, extra vigilance is crucial, especially on roads that are undergoing renovation, such as the Dhaka-Northern and Dhaka-Sylhet roads. If heavy rain renders a road impassable, prompt repairs should be conducted to minimise disruptions. It is essential to recognize that a traffic jam in any part of a road during a long journey can create long tailback, ultimately ruining the Eid joy for commuters.
However, it is important to acknowledge that sustainable roads alone cannot eliminate accidents. A significant number of accidents occur due to reckless driving by drivers and negligence on the part of pedestrians.
A recent tragic incident involved an ambulance colliding with a railing on the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman highway, resulting in a fire and the loss of all seven passengers. Many motorcycle riders also disregard traffic rules, contributing to road accidents.
It is vital for relevant organisations and individuals to be more vigilant in addressing these issues. It is crucial for everyone to prioritise safety and refrain from overtaking
As Eid travels commence, it is advisable for transport carrying livestock to avoid the highways as much as possible. Additionally, cattle markets should not be set up on roads and highways. It is crucial to prioritise the safety of all commuters and avoid putting others at risk for personal gain. We sincerely hope that individuals traveling by road, waterways, and railway exercise caution and remain alert. Everyone should remember, life is more valuable than time.