As Eid-ul-Fitr holiday came to an end people from south-western districts started returning to their workstations in the capital but the journey is taking more than 12 hours for many due to gridlock at Daulatdia ferry terminal.
Shariful Islam, a trader from Barishal lying on the engine cover of a Dhaka-bound bus on Sunday morning, said he started around 7 pm on Saturday from his house and got on the bus around 9 pm.
His bus was standing still three kilometers away from the terminal as he was talking to the UNB reporter.
Like Shariful, hundreds of passengers were seen waiting to cross the river as the long tailback of vehicles on the Dhaka-Khulna highway crossed six kilometers and kept getting longer by the hour.
To decrease the pressure on the terminal police have started stopping vehicles 13 kilometers from the terminal near the Ahladipur area in Rajbari sadar upazila.Hundreds of private vehicles reached the terminal crossing an extra eight-kilometer path from Padmar Mor and Jamidar Bridge area through Ujan Char and Char Daulatdia.
Some drivers complained local influential people and brokers were charging extra money from the drivers of goods-laden vehicles with the help of police as they were given priority for crossing the river.
Abul Bashar, a fruits trader from Barguna said he started around 8 pm with 22 tonnes of watermelon on a covered van to Dhaka and got stuck in the traffic around 11 pm.
He said, “I had to collect a ticket paying Tk 4,000 instead of regular Tk 1,800 as they were allowing us to pass specially. Yet a huge number of my watermelons perished due to long 13 hours of wait amid heat.”
According to the Daulatdia office of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), 11, 593 vehicles crossed the Padma River in the last 24 hours till Sunday 6 am through ferry from Daulatdia terminal.
Md Shihab Uddin, manager of BIWTA Daulatdia office, said a record number of vehicles have crossed the river from this terminal in 24 hours.
“On Saturday noon two of the 21 ferries operating on Daulatdia-Paturia route became disable but both of them resumed operation again in the evening. Currently all the ferries are operating from five terminals but due to worn-out roads and increased pressure of all the vehicles of Shimulia-Banglabazar route there is the long tailback”, said the BIWTA official.
Meanwhile, around 30,000 passengers crossed the river by 166 launches from Daulatdia terminal, said Nurul Anwar, spokesperson for Aricha Launch Owners’ Association in Daulatdia.
He said after 10 pm Saturday launch trips were reduced considering risk as most of the launches were carrying almost double their capacity of passengers.
Source: United News of Bangladesh