Sunday, August 18, 2019 | ePaper

Train, bus, launch schedules collapsed

Holidaymakers suffer

120km tailback on Dhaka-Rangpur Highway

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Thousands of Eid holidaymakers thronged the Sadarghat launch terminal to celebrate the Eid-ul-Azha with their relatives at village homes of Southern region on Friday.

Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
Eid holidaymakers heading for home districts have faced immense sufferings due to collapsing of schedules of train, bus and launch services.
Every long-trip by  train, bus and launch is also allegedly taking three to 10 times more comparing with the normal days.
Maximum home-goers' suffering has been intensified as they are virtually  stranded on vehicles that originated from mismanagements of traffic   system on all highways and national roads.
The roads and bridges' repairing work as well as metro rail project construction work are blamed for unbearable anguish of people while city cattle markets, water longing and rough weather accelerated agony the Eid-goers.
The suspension and delay of launch and ferry operations in different water routes, including Shimulia-Kathalbari ghats, on the Padma River are also  means of  extra suffering for holidaymakers.
In the latest, rail communication of Dhaka with northern and southern districts has resumed three hours after its suspension as two compartments of Khulna-bound Sundarban Express were derailed on the eastern side of the Bangabandhu Bridge in Tangail.
The rail service was restored around 4:30pm, said Rezaul Karim, Station Master of Bangabandhu Bridge's eastern part.
Earlier in the day, two compartments of the Sundarban Express veered off the rail tracks near
 the east corner of the bridge around 1:20pm, said Mizanur Rahman, Divisional Railway Manager (Paksey).
Later, a rescue team rushed to the spot and salvaged the derailed compartments of the train, he added.
Meanwhile, people who took the Dhaka-Mawa Highway to go to south-western districts suffered the most as operation of ferries, launches, and speedboats on Shimulia-Kathalbari route remained halted for hours due to rough weather and strong currents in the Padma river.
Also a 120-km tailback has been created on the Dhaka-Rangpur Highway since Friday morning, causing sufferings to tens of thousands of homebound Eid travelers, report our Gazipur, Tangail, Sirajganj and Bogura districts correspondents.
Tangail Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjib Kumar Biswas said that  the huge traffic congestion on the all important highways from Ashulia to Bangabandhu Bridge was created due to the increasing number of Dhaka-bound cattle-laden trucks and vehicles of Eid holidaymakers leaving Dhaka.
Several hundreds vehicles were stranded on Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway on Friday morning as a large number of vehicles left the capital for home districts.
Transports carrying the home-bound people are moving slowly at Chandana intersection, Board Bazar, Gazipur intersection and Tongi due to heavy pressure of vehicles.
"The overall situation is very bad," said Osman Ali, General Secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Workers Federation.
More than 800 vehicles were waiting at Shimulia in he evening, said Abdul Alim, Manager (commerce) of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) at Shimulia terminal.
Only four ferries were in operation in the morning due to bad weather. The authorities were able to operate all the 16 ferries only after 12:00noon, when weather became normal.
Rita Akter, a private service holder, said his bus of Tungipara Express was supposed to start from Gulistan at 12:30, but started at 4:30pm, because of huge jam at Shimulia-Kathalbari.
Rupali Begum, a private university student, said, "I came to the terminal at 9:00am defying rain, but my bus has not arrived yet [at 11:00am]. I don't know how much longer I will have to wait."
"Pressure of passengers at the country's largest launch terminal Sadarghat increased in the evening. Some 80 launches are being operated during normal time. Around 25 more launches will run tonight [Friday]," said Alamgir Kabir, Joint Director of BIWTA.
Usually, 7,080 launches cruise on 40 routes, mostly in the country's southern region from Dhaka's Sadarghat. Some 130 more will join the fleet to carry 8-10 lakh people, who travel by waterways during Eid vacation, according to transport operators.
Meanwhile, the BIWTA said that it would not allow motorcycles on any passenger-carrying vessels from Sadarghat terminal during Eid rush.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader has said that they directed the authorities to complete the repair work of all dilapidated roads three days before Eid, many of the regional and district roads could not be repaired within the deadline.
Mukul Mia, a private university student, said, some long distant buses and trains take three to ten hours more during the journey.
Rail way minister Nurul Islam Sujon, said on Friday, "Until the Bangabandhu Bridge becomes double lane, there will be some suffering."
Dhumketu, the Rajshahi bound train was supposed to leave Kamlapur at 6am but it came to the station after 10:15 am. It finally left at 11 am.
Rangpur Express was supposed to leave at 9 am but the train was not seen ever at 12:00:pm.
People are also travelling on the train roof. A passenger of Rangpur Express, Karima  Khatun, says, "I came to the station at 9:00 and even at 12 noon we do not know the possible time for departure."

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