The Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP) traffic department yesterday urged 10th graders to leave early for exam centres for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations beginning today, as the recent heavy downpour has further exacerbated the capital's traffic conditions.
In a separate notification issued yesterday, DMP Commissioner Shafiqul Islam stated that the 200-yard perimeter of all exam centres will be off limits for public during the exams to ensure a peaceful atmosphere.
The examinations will begin at 11am this year instead of 10am, considering the traffic conditions in the capital.
"We have heard the instructions of the police and I will definitely try to leave early for the exam," said Habibar Rahman Monika, an examinee of the Narinda Government High School.
"Usually it takes 40 minutes to reach the centre from my home, but to be safe I will start with at least two hours in hand so that I can reach on time even if there is a traffic jam," she told The Business Standard.
Monika's mother Mukta said it is better to go early and wait than to be late and risk being stuck in traffic.
"Besides, it is added stress for the examinees if they fail to reach the exam centre on time. So, going early should always be the priority," she added.
Exam duration this year has been revised down to two hours – 20 minutes for the MCQ part and 1 hour 40 minutes for the written part, said the minister.
All examinees have been asked to enter the exam halls 30 minutes before the exams begin and no one except the exam centre secretary will be allowed to carry a cellular phone.
This year, 2,021,868 students are expected to take the SSC and equivalent exams, which will end on 18 October.
About 1,599,711 candidates will sit for the SSC exams under nine general education boards, 268,495 for the Dakhil exam under Madrasa Education Board, and 153,662 for vocational exams under the Bangladesh Technical Education Board, the minister said.
Around 3,790 centres have been readied for the SSC exams across the country.
Usually, the SSC and its equivalent exams take place in February, but this year the exams were deferred for about four months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Later, in mid-June, it was further postponed due to a deteriorating flood situation in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts.
Gridlocks all over capital
Extreme traffic jams on various roads of the capital were seen since yesterday morning, similar to the day before.
Severe gridlocks were reported the whole day until late afternoon yesterday on routes from airport, Khilkhet to MES bus stop to Kakoli, Banani, Mohakhali and Satrasta crossing towards Moghbazar and from Khilkhet to Kuril, Natunbazar, Badda, Rampura towards Malibagh and Kakrail.
Traffic on the routes, including Bijoy Soroni to Mirpur-10 via Shewrapara and Mirpur-10 to Pallabi via Kalshi road, also started to turn haywire since morning. The situation from Kalyanpur to Science Lab, Newmarket via Asadgate on the Mirpur road was just the same.
Heavy congestion was reported on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway from Tongi to Abdullahpur on the Dhaka-bound road and outbound vehicles towards Narayanganj and Keraniganj were also seen stuck in long tailbacks since morning.
"Dhaka-bound public transports and other vehicles on the Gazipur road moved very slowly due to the incessant rain and the ongoing BUS Rapid Transit Project work on the Gazipur-Dhaka-Mymensingh highway," Badrul Hasan, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Uttara Traffic Zone, told The Business Standard.