Reopening of factories: Mad rush at ferry ghat

 

Thousands of passengers board a ferry on Kazirhaat-Aricha route. Photo: Star

Ferry terminals are witnessing massive rush today as workers of garments and other export-oriented factories have started to return to Dhaka following a government announcement that the factories will be allowed to reopen from August 1, amid the ongoing “strict lockdown”.

As launch services are suspended, ferry ghats are witnessing immense pressure of commuters and private vehicles.

Our Munshiganj correspondent reports, thousands of Dhaka-bound commuters are travelling to Shimulia from Madaripur’s Banglabazar as they have to join work tomorrow.

Ten out of 17 ferries are operating on the route today and the ferries are carrying only commuters, along with a few ambulances and vehicles carrying the dead.

Many of the passengers on the overly crowded ferries were not wearing masks, risking their lives.

Over 400 vehicles were seen waiting at Banglabazar ghat around 12pm.

Thousands of passengers traveling to Shimulia from Banglabazar. Photo: Star

Shahiful Islam, deputy general manager of Shimulia ghat, BIWTC, said “There is no pressure of vehicles and passengers at Shimulia ghat. That’s why, we are unloading the ferries quickly and sending those back to Banglabazar to expedite the services.”

Md Jamaluddin, traffic police inspector of Banglabazar ferry ghat, said 20,000 people were seen waiting at Banglabazar at 10:00am to cross the river.

Our Manikganj correspondent reports, after celebrating Eid at village homes, people from 21 southern districts are returning to Dhaka via Daulatdia-Paturia route.

After getting off the ferry at Manikganj’s Paturia, they are taking trucks, pick-up vans, motorcycles, CNG-run auto-rickshaws to reach their destinations, paying five to six times higher fare.

Our Pabna correspondent reports, three ferries left Kazirhaat ghat for Aricha today till 10:00am and no vehicle could board the ferries following the rush of commuters.

Mahabubur Rahman, manager of Kazirhaat ferry ghat and also officer of BIWTA, said each ferry has carried around 2,000 to 3,000 commuters while trucks and motorbikes remain stranded at the ghat. Most of the vehicles could not reach the pontoon due to the crowd, he said.

“Once the ferries anchored at Kazirhaat, they faced difficulties in unloading transports due to the mad rush of people,” Mahabub told the Daily Star.

“When the rush increased, we requested police at the ferry ghat to control the crowd so that we can unload the ferries,” he said, adding that ferry services are being hampered due to the crowd.

Talking to The Daily Star, Md Faruk Sarkar, an executive level officer of a garments factory in Dhaka, said, “I did not have the intention to go to my village home this Eid. When I came to know that the lockdown will be continued till August 5, I went there. But now I have to reach Dhaka and join office tomorrow.”

“People are boarding the ferries, maintaining no distancing, and there is no scope to follow health rules,” said Sabbir Rahman, a BIWTA official of Kazirhaat ghat said.

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