Health safety regulations are largely abused

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As people continue to depart the city, there is a large gathering at bus terminals and boat ghats.

Thousands of people left the capital yesterday for their village homes to spend Eid-ul-Azha with their family, largely disregarding health safety regulations.

The stampede generated fears of an increase in Covid transmission at a time when the country is experiencing an uptick in virus illnesses and deaths.

Passengers swarmed the bus and launch stations. Many of the visitors wore no face masks at all.

Most buses and launches had no empty seats, despite the fact that the government had ordered the operators to run them at half-capacity. Only a few of the bus drivers complied with the instructions.

After leaving the capital, the buses were trapped in traffic for hours on the motorways. The bottleneck was caused by a large number of automobiles, according to officials.

The situation at the train stations, on the other hand, was much better. Half of the seats on trains leaving the capital’s Kamalapur Railway Station were empty.

Correspondents saw crowds in front of the ticket desks at the city’s Gabtali bus station Wednesday morning. Physical separation was thrown out the window. Many people wore no face masks.

Many travelers frantically rushed from one counter to another after failing to obtain tickets.

Bus operators reported some of them had stopped selling tickets because they couldn’t keep up with their schedules owing to highway traffic jams.

“We can’t sell tickets because the buses aren’t getting to the terminals on time,” Nurul Islam, a Hanif Paribahan employee, told this publication at the Gabtoli bus station.

Saiful Islam, a passenger on his way to Meherpur, said, “My bus was supposed to arrive at 9:00 a.m. Anything’s 10:30 p.m., and there’s still no sign of it. I’ve been warned I could have to wait another two hours.”

Due to a lack of bus tickets, numerous people rented microbuses and began sharing the ride, disregarding actual distance.

The ferry terminals on the Shimulia-Banglabazar and Paturia-Daulatdia routes were similarly packed. People go from Dhaka to 21 southern districts via these routes.

Passengers jostled for boarding whenever a ferry arrived at Munshiganj’s Shimulia ferry station, as police appeared to turn a blind eye to enforcing physical separation.

When asked, Solaiman, a Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) inspector stationed at the terminal, replied, “We’re creating public awareness so that people follow the Covid-19 health guidelines. In this regard, we shall continue to work hard.”

At Manikganj’s Paturia terminal, the scenario was practically identical.

Around 2:00 p.m., a launch named “Tajmahal” left the terminal with about 150 passengers on board. It had a capacity of 127 passengers, but according to government regulations, it was only allowed to carry a maximum of 65.

“The launch companies are charging extra because they have to keep half of the seats empty, according to them. At the same time, they are boarding additional guests. They’re taking advantage of any opportunity they can get “Sadeque Hossain, a Rajbari-bound passenger, expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation.

Due to severe traffic on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway, vehicles had to move slowly from Cumilla’s Daudkandi to Chauddagram throughout the day.

Thousands of people flocked to the Sadarghat station in the city Wednesday evening to board launches. Physical separation was also mainly neglected there.

The Daily Star’s Report.

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