After nine days of non-stop nationwide blockade of rail, road and waterways by the 18-party, huge rush of traffic yesterday caused 54km tailbacks on Dhaka-Chittagong highway and long queues at ferry terminals.
Adding to the passengers’ misery was the dense fog that snapped ferry service at Mawa-Kewrakandi and Paturia-Daulatdia terminals for over 11 hours stranding several thousand buses, trucks and private vehicles there.
The Dhaka city too witnessed traffic jam at different points, as people came out to do their necessaries within the 48-hour window before the next spell of non-stop blockade begins at 6:00am Sunday.
An Awami League rally in the capital’s Suhrawardy Uddyan also contributed to traffic congestion in adjacent areas.
The BNP-led alliance had called the non-stop blockade of rail, road and waterways from the first day of the new year to resist the January 5 parliamentary polls.
“It took us eight and a half hours to go 16 kilometres on Dhaka-Comilla highway at Chandina,” said bus passenger Mostafa, who was coming to the capital from Comilla.
Banker Rebeka Sultana with her little daughter had to face acute lavatory scarcity as they got stuck in a long tailback. Their bus took eight hours, 7:00am to 3:00pm, to reach Gouripur from Comilla town, about 45 kilometres.
She was bringing her daughter to a doctor in Dhaka. However, she missed the appointment, reports our Comilla correspondent.
Reports of people being stranded in queues also came from Chandpur, Manikganj, Madaripur and Munshiganj.
The 54-kilometre tailback on Dhaka-Chittagong highway stretched from the cantonment area in Comilla sadar upazila to Daudkandi toll plaza.
Thousands of travellers there had to suffer from the winter chill and lack of food, drinking water and toilet facilities for about 16 hours from 3:00am yesterday.
Ferry service in Mawa-Kewrakandi terminal remained suspended for around 12 hours from 11:00pm Thursday due to fog. This left about 5,000 vehicles stuck on both sides, in Munshiganj and Madaripur.
A total of 11 ferries were anchored in the middle of the Padma river due to poor visibility, reports our Munshiganj correspondent.
Sirajul Haque, manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) at Mawa, told The Daily Star that the ferries were asked to stay put in mid-river for safety.
The ferry service resumed after the fog cleared a little.
At least 10 kilometres of tailback was seen from Kewrakandi ferry terminal to Shariatullah bridge in Madaripur, reports our correspondent.
Bus passenger Haider Hossain had reached the terminal around 10:00am yesterday but could not board a ferry before 11:00pm. He was going to Gopalganj.
Dense fog also halted ferry movement in Paturia-Daulatdia terminal in Manikganj for 11 hours, until 9:30am yesterday, said BIWTC Manager (commerce) Mohiuddin Russell.
More than 1,000 vehicles including at least 500 buses had to wait in queues on both sides of the terminal without proper food, drinking water and sanitation facilities amid severe cold, reports our Manikganj correspondent.
The dense fog also delayed departure of launches across the country by two to three hours yesterday.
Source: The Daily Star