Daulatdia-Paturia ferry terminals, the river route connecting 21 south-western districts with the capital city, wears almost a deserted look thanks to reduced pressure of vehicles and passengers with the opening of the Padma Bridge.
Food items-laden trucks from Meherpur reached Dhaka's Karwan Bazar in only five hours on Monday, say traders.
Previously the same journey would take 8-10 hours, said truck driver Lokman Hossain, who transported green chilli and vegetables yesterday.
The districts of the Southern region of the country are now directly connected to the capital through the Padma Bridge. However, south-western districts including Meherpur, will not use the bridge so much to travel to the capital. But, thanks to the Padma Bridge, transports saw significantly less traffic and congestion through the Daulatdia-Paturia and Jamuna Bridge routes.
Vegetable farmers of Meherpur said, due to longer travel time, vegetables used to often rot before reaching Dhaka.
"Earlier we had to wait for hours for our turn to cross the ferry. Today we found empty ferries waiting for vehicles," said Lokman.
"The picture of the road from Manikganj to Amin Bazar was also different. Thanks to very light traffic, we reached Karwan Bazar from Meherpur in just 5 hours," he added.
"Now the fear of vegetables rotting is not a concern anymore. We now have the option to choose either to use the Jamuna Bridge or the Daulatdia ferry ghat. If necessary we can also use the Padma Bridge," said Abed Ali, a vegetable from Kushtia's Mirpur.
Meanwhile, about one lakh sacrificial animals are supplied from Meherpur district to the capital Dhaka and Chittagong every year. Cattle farmers and traders are also very happy as the vehicle pressure dropped significantly on the ferry route.
Shamsul Alam, deputy director of the Meherpur District Agriculture Extension Department, said Meherpur produces surplus vegetables, fishes and meat.
"The farmers of this district have been deprived of fair prices in many cases due to dependency on one route until now. The addition of Padma Bridge will alleviate the issue a great deal," according to Shamsul Alam.
Some 2,710 Dhaka-bound vehicles crossed Daulatdia Ghat in the last 24 hours. Earlier, some 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles used to cross the river.
Ghat-centric traders and hawkers were frustrated due to the reduced number of vehicles and passengers while the passengers and drivers using Daulatdia Ghat expressed relief.
According to Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) Daulatdia Ghat sources, the Padma Bridge has reduced the suffering of passengers in Daulatdia.
However, the revenue of the ghat is also expected to decrease significantly with the reduction in the number of vehicles and passengers.
Refuting to make a comment regarding the issue, the officials, however, said they were rather monitoring the situation.