Streets in Dhaka were packed on Monday - the 11th day of the ongoing strict lockdown - with long queues of vehicles as thousands of people from all over the country continued to enter the capital city.
Following the opening of export-oriented factories on 1 August, people have been entering Dhaka in hundreds of thousands. Many were forced to walk hundreds of miles with no available public transport due to a nationwide lockdown. However, a small number of long-distance buses and launches operated on Monday, bringing workers to the city from all over the country. Over three dozen launches, full of passengers, arrived at Sadarghat from different southern districts, including Barishal.
Besides, most shops, except shopping malls, in the city were open for business on the day.
Roads in Dhaka have begun to get busier as the two-week-long nationwide lockdown nears its end and factories began to reopen after the Eid-ul-Adha holidays. Gabtali, Jatrabari and Sadarghat, the entrances to the capital, were crowded with Dhaka-bound passengers on Monday. But with no public transport on the road inside the city, many had to use rickshaws, vans and motorcycles to reach their destinations, paying high fares. Hundreds of others walked.
Some rickshaw vans were seen charging Tk200 per person to take passengers to Gulistan from Gabtoli.
Passenger pressure has continued to increase in the Shimulia-Banglabazar route on Monday with thousands of passengers from the south-western part of the country crossing the Padma River on launches and ferries bound for Dhaka, ignoring government-imposed restrictions.
However, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) closed down the route at 12pm.
Safayet Ahmed, manager (Commerce), Shimulia Ghat, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), said nine of the 17 ferries on the Shimulia-Banglabazar route have been operating since Monday morning. Passenger pressure was much higher than the last two days.
Dhaka's Sadarghat also saw a surge in passengers on the day with 37 launches from different parts of the country arriving at the launch terminal by 10 am, according to Joynal Abedin, joint director of BIWTA.
Few buses were seen taking in passengers bound to go Mirpur, Jatrabari and Gazipur. A small number of CNG-powered autorickshaws also plied the road with many charging three times more fare than usual.
The lack of transportation has been adding to the sufferings of office-goers in the city as well.
Sirajul Islam, an employee of a Uttara-based company, said he had to wait for an hour in the Mogbazar intersection to get an affordable ride to his office on Monday morning.
Rickshaws were charging Tk400 to go Abdullahpur from Mogbazar, he said.
Meanwhile, factory workers at Sreepur upazila of Gazipur blocked a highway on Monday morning for an hour to protest against the transport crisis. Other workers and ordinary passengers on the highway suffered. The protest on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at 2 No. C&B Bazar in Sreepur municipal area from 8 am to 9 am caused a 2km long traffic jam. The protest was later disbanded by police.
Besides, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has arrested 345 people for allegedly roaming around the capital in violating lockdown rules.
Also, mobile courts in the city have fined 135 people Tk 1,89,800 on the day for lockdown rules violation, according to officials.
The DMP traffic department has fined the owners of 366 vehicles Tk8,24,500.