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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Home-goers opt for risky trip

Md Joynal Abedin Khan :
Around 60 lakh people opted for risky journey as they have no option to get expected tickets to travel to their village homes to celebrate the Eid-ul-Azha on Monday with their near and dear ones.
They authorities concerned have the ability to carry only 20 lakh passengers, although more than 80 lakh people normally leave the capital ahead of the two Eid festivals, sources said.
They said, around 80,000 passengers will make their journey by train everyday and the total number may reach around 400,000 in five days before the Eid while the number of bus and launch passengers crossed over 300,000 and 200,00 respectively every day.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway has rescheduled for Saturday the departure of several trains from Dhaka's Kamalapur Railway Station amid immense sufferings of the passengers due to schedule collapse ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha.
The homegoers who are waiting at the station for hours do not know when treir trains will leave Dhaka and reach their respective destinations.
Since morning, only one train - Panchagarh-bound Ekata Express - left the station around 11:55am, two hours late then the schedule time.     
Train passengers said, none of the northern district-bound trains and some of southern region-bound trains did not leave Kamalapur Railway Station as per their schedules.
However, Resho Banik, officer-in-charge of Kamalapur Railway Station, said Chattogram and Sylhet-bound trains 
left the station as per schedules but the northern and southern districts-bound trains fell behind their schedules due to slow movement of trains over Bangabandhu Bridge.
'Dhumketu Express' left the station six hours later than the scheduled time, while 'Sundarban Express' was late by five hours, 'Nilsagar Express' and 'Rangpur Express' by eight hours and 'Lalmonirhat Express' (special) by 10 hours.
Meanwhile, the platform of the station is abuzz with homebound people as they were seen waiting there for hours together amid hot and humid weather. Many passengers were also seen travelling on the rooftops of trains, putting their lives at risk.
Following the severe dearth of tickets of buses, launches and planes, the ticket-deprived passengers will make their long-distance journey by unfit and unapproved transports amid high risk.
According Bus Owners Association sources, around 4.5 lakh people leave Dhaka everyday and the total number of 22 lakh passengers will leave in five days before the Eid.
Many of them will also use roofs-top of buses, city buses, trucks, uncovered vans, engine-run tiny-transports and other faulty vehicles, although they have horrified experience like deaths and losing organs after fell from roofs-top of buses in recent years.
Jatri Kalyan Samity sources said, around 60 lakh people will make their journey in mostly unfit, non-permitted city busses and some trucks by taking risk of life on roads and highways. They are also in panicked as non-skilled drivers will ply buses violating traffic rules.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) sources said, 18,69,000 drivers hold legal licence against 35,44,009 vehicles.
Besides, Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity Secretary General Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury told The New Nation on Saturday, "Bus authorities are taking extra fare from passengers in all modes of transports ahead of the Eid."
The home-bound people are also being compelled to wait at the launch terminals for at least eight to 12 hours while the airway holidaymakers have to collect tickets paying four to five times extra cost, Mozammel alleged.
Khandaker Enayet Ullah, Secretary General, Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Samity, said, "We instructed all our members to follow the government rules to ensure smooth journey."
A high-ranking police official seeking anonymity said that if police implement all traffic rules then most of the passengers will have to loss Eid celebrations with their near and dear ones.