Traffic overload that never ends, not even in lockdown!
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is known for its traffic congestion. One will see it, no matter whether there is a shutdown or bad weather because its chaotic traffic-still too mild a term-is its identity.
On the 12th day of lockdown, UNB correspondents saw the streets of Dhaka flooded with vehicles bringing back its chaotic days. Everything except public transports were plying city streets and people wandering around with little or no regard to the health guidelines.
Thegovernment, meanwhile, has extended the current lockdown till August 10 amid a surge in the delta variant of Covid-19 across the country.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque disclosed the decision of the government while talking to reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting on Tuesday.
He said shops, factories and offices will be reopened from August 11 while public transport will be allowed to ply roads on a limited scale once the lockdown is over.
After a reality check at different parts of the capital, including Shabagh, Uttara, Mohakhali, Mirpur, Kalabagan, Biijoy Srani, Badda, Farmgate, Shyamoli, Karwan Bazar and Bangla Motor, the UNB correspondents saw the capital almost returning to normal with, with an increased number of vehicles and people on the streets.
Usual traffic jams were also seen at most of these places during office hours from 8:30 amto 11 am.
Traffic Inspector Asaduzzaman (Mohakhali), said: "Apart from the absence of local buses, I couldn't differentiate today's Dhaka with the pre-lockdown days in the morning."
Although law enforcers were seen vigilant on the streets as many were detained or fined for wandering without any reason or not abiding by health guidelines.
The UNB correspondents found many trying to enter the capital by ambulances in the guise of as patients and eventually getting caught at police checkposts. They were either detained or fined over the matter.
While visiting Gabtoli, Syedabad, Tongi, Babu Bazar Bridge, Demra Bridge, Ashulia Bridge and other entry points, they saw a mad rush of Dhaka-bound people.
Traffic Inspector (TI) Ziaul Haque of Demra Zone said," We expected that the rush of people at these entry points will start declining from today and were proven wrong. The number of people entering Dhaka was similar to that of the past few days, if not more," he said.
"We're keeping an open mind if people trying to enter have valid reasons and take actions otherwise," Zia added.
Reimposed at 8 am on July 23, the second round of strict lockdown was supposed to be in force till August 5.
The government on Friday (July 30) allowed industry owners to reopen all export-oriented factories from 1 August amid countrywide stringent lockdown.
The scale of Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh looks to be overwhelming as the country added 246 fatalities to its national tally on Monday, reporting over 200 single-day fatalities for the last nine days.
The rapid rise in cases and fatalities, driven by the Delta variant, shows the worst days of the pandemic are far from over here since the pace of hospitalization across the country remains relentless. -UNB