The Financial Express

Eid travellers crowd Shimulia ferries defying health rules

| Updated: May 07, 2021 18:18:31

Eid travellers crowd Shimulia ferries defying health rules

Heavy crowds of people returning home for Eid-ul-Fitr have descended on Munshiganj’s Shimulia port despite pandemic health restrictions.

The number of ferry passengers has increased because launches and speedboats are not allowed to operate, said Md Shafiqul Islam, assistant general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation.

Unable to cope with the onrush of passengers, some ferries have departed without a single vehicle on board. As a result, over a thousand freight and private vehicles are congesting the area around the port, reports bdnews24.com.

Though long-haul buses are not operating during the lockdown, buses can still operate within their own districts. People are piling into smaller transports, like freight trucks or pick-ups, to make their way from Dhaka to Shimulia to cross the Padma to head home to the southern districts.

Massive crowds of people were gathered on the ferry pier on Friday morning, braving the pandemic to make their way home for the holiday.

Thousands of people are taking the ferries on foot, while freight trucks and other vehicles are stuck on the other side of the river.

All 87 launches on this river route have ceased operating due to the lockdown, BIWTC official Shafiqul said. About 450 speedboats and several hundred trawlers have also halted operations since the speedboat accident in Madaripur’s Shibchar.

This puts all the pressure on the ferries.

In addition, three of the 16 ferries on the Shimulia-Banglabazar route are inoperable so it has been difficult to cope with the crowds with only 13 ferries running, Shafiqul said.

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