On the first day of the weeklong strict lockdown on Wednesday, the capital witnessed deserted thoroughfares, check posts at different spots, fines for breaching lockdown rules, hike in essentials' prices, and "half-open" stores.
It looked like a ghost city as the number of people on the streets dwindled dramatically compared to the previous days.
Stores were closed across the city all day long with the exception of a few that kept their shutters half-opened.
Businesses reported severe losses while consumers complained of price hikes.
Vigilant law enforcers
As previously announced, police ramped up their activities from early morning on the day, with check posts set up at important intersections, along with the exit and entry points of the city to control peoples' movement.
Security officials were seen checking people, who came out of their homes, to see if they had "Movement Pass" in different areas, including Dhanmondi 27, Russell Square, Kalabagan, Science Lab intersection, Bata Signal, Bangla Motor and Shahbagh.
People without movement passes were halted and sent back.
Md Firoz, a motorcyclist, who claimed to be delivering emergency medicine to a patient of a real estate company in Motijheel, was halted by the police.
"I have come all the way from Mohammadpur to deliver the medicines and the police stopped me at Shahbagh," he said.
Sheikh Muhammad Shamim, assistant commissioner (Ramna Division) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Business Standard, "We have permitted all emergency service seekers but halted those who were moving unnecessarily."
Police also filed cases and fined people for unnecessary movement.
In Shahbagh area, police fined a pick-up van for carrying bitumen breaching the lockdown rules.
Joynal, the driver of the van, told The Business Standard that he was transporting the goods to Savar for an emergency road renovation project.
"But I was fined Tk2,000. The administration always fines and punishes poor people," he complained.
At several check posts, rickshaws were seen parked.
Price hikes, low sales
Buyers across the city reported price hikes at the beginning of the lockdown and Ramadan.
Md Eyamin, 33, a fruit vendor in Keraniganj, came to the Waisghat area to buy banana, watermelon and other fruits to meet the summer demand in his area.
"The price is a little higher as the country went into a strict lockdown. Apart from this, the carrying cost would be higher too," he said.
Md Nizamuddin, a resident of Gendaria came to Old Dhaka to buy some Iftar items and other commodities as the prices are relatively higher in his area.
He said, "We have finally experienced a real lockdown. Let us focus on the coming days as the offices will resume and more people will come out on roads."
On the other hand, businesses reported low sales amid the newly imposed restrictions.
Mohammad Alamgir Hossain, a wholesaler at the Waisghat fruit market, told The Business Standard that sales are much lower than those of previous years.
"We used to sell fruits worth Tk5-6 lakh on the first day of Ramadan. But the sale has declined for the second consecutive year. We could not sell fruits worth Tk50,000-60,000 today," he added.
Alamgir blamed police officials for his losses, saying, "They harass us for bribes and our businesses see losses."
Nur Hossain Tipu, a fruit importer and vendor went out of home despite the lockdown.
"It is the peak season for the fruit business and we cannot sit back at home!" he reasoned.
Alamgir, a 23-year-old delivery man of Paperfly, came to the Sadarghat area, carrying a heavy bag on his back to drop off a parcel.
He disclosed that he along with some other delivery men was provided with movement passes.
"Yesterday police came to our office, verified our need and provided some passes to facilitate our movement during the lockdown," he added.
Desolate Sadarghat, half-opened shops
The Sadarghat river port wore a deserted look.
There was no usual hustle and bustle or any mad rush of people or no familiar scene of launches lined up. Just a paddleboat was seen anchored at the port.
Some fruit vendors and labourers were seen passing the river on boats towards Keraniganj.
All markets, including the filling stations of the area remained shut.
However, some shopkeepers were seen waiting for customers in front of their shops with the shutters halfway down.
A few commuters were seen in the morning and afternoon in Kamlapur. Motijheel, Paltan, Gulistan, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Nilkhet, Bailey Road and Shahbagh areas.
Residents of Old Dhaka, Malibagh, Khilgaon, Basundhara and Dhanmondi areas claimed to experience more rush in the alleys than the main roads.
Robiul Islam, executive magistrate of Dhaka district administration, said he conducted several mobile courts at Jigatola, Shankar, Rabindra Sarabar, Nilkhet and Dhanmondi areas.
"Most of the people who came out of homes were going to hospitals, while some were found taking food just before Iftar. I found only one youth moving aimlessly and fined him Tk200," he said.