Bus, train and ferry terminals witnessed a mad rush as people started streaming out of Dhaka on Friday defying all hassles of journey to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones in outlying districts.
With Sunday being the only working day before the three-day vacation for the biggest festival for Muslims begins on Monday, many home goers left the city on Thursday afternoon.
Passengers swarmed all three major bus terminals, Sadarghat ferry terminal and different railway stations for tickets and a place on the transports.
According to transport operators, around 75 lakh people – almost half of the total population of the capital – are expected to leave Dhaka to celebrate Eid festival with their families living in outlaying districts.
Many buses left the city terminals on Friday with passengers beyond their capacities while many government and private sector employees started leaving Dhaka on Wednesday managing leave for Thursday and next Sunday to enjoy a longer vacation.
Transport operators said the pressure would increase from today with Sunday being the last working day before the start of Eid holidays.
Passengers alleged that many transport operators were cashing in on the rush charging extra by creating an artificial shortage of tickets that was increasing the suffering of the homebound passengers.
Many people failing to manage tickets were seen riding on the roofs of buses, trains and launches to reach their destinations before Eid.
Homebound people alleged that countermen of different transport operators at Gabtoli bus terminal were charging extra on different routes.
Passengers on Faridpur, Kushtia, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Chittagong, Khulna and Satkhira routes also alleged that different transport operators were charging up to Tk 200 as extra.
People also crowded Kamalapur railway station to catch a train to their destinations.
Passengers also scrambled in front of counters for ‘standing tickets’ on Chittagong-bound Subarna Express, Sylhet-bound Kalni Express and Noakhali- bound Upakul Express.
Some people were seen riding on roofs of Silk City and Subarna expresses as the trains left the station but members of Railway Nirapatta Bahini and railway police did not prevent them.
A number of employees said that the public holidays would be bridged with the two weekends and the officials and employees would enjoy a longer vacation this time by managing their seniors or by taking a one-day casual leave before or after the vacation. The three-day public holiday as per the government calendar begins on Monday and the Eid is likely to be celebrated on Tuesday.
Services of three special trains will start today on Dhaka-Dewanganj, Dhaka-Khulna and Dhaka-Parbatipur routes from Kamalapur. The services will continue till Monday.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority joint director for traffic Saiful Haque Khan said that passengers started crowding the Sadarghat ferry terminal on Friday and the rush would increase before Eid.
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan and state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Friday said that the government had taken necessary preparations so that the homebound people reach their destinations smoothly and safely.
Addressing a discussion at the National Press Club, the ministers said the ministries concerned were working jointly for smooth and safe journey before and after the Eid festival.