Thousands stream out of Dhaka as Eid holiday starts today

2007-12-20__front011.jpgWith the Eid-ul-Azha only a day away, thousands of city dwellers are braving a lot of troubles to go back to their village homes to celebrate the second biggest religious festival of the Muslims with their near and dear ones.
The usually busy metropolis looked a little different yesterday as a large number of people already left for home in the three-day holiday comprising the weekend and public holiday on the Victory Day, December 16.
Although the rush for returning home started a few days back, a virtually unending stream of people crowded inter-district bus terminals at Gabtoli, Sayedabad and Mohakhali, Kamalapur railway station and Sadarghat launch terminal yesterday.
And the rush will climax today as a three-day Eid holiday begins today.
The home-goers seemed to ignore the hazards of journey by overloaded vehicles to be with their family members or relatives on the occasion of the Eid.
Taking advantage of the situation, unscrupulous transport staffs greatly raised bus fare in various routes.

BUS TERMINALS
Due to relaxed traffic control and haphazard plying of vehicles, heavy traffic congestion was created on the roads near Gabtoli, Mohakhali and Sayedabad bus terminals yesterday morning. As a result, many home-goers could not reach the terminals timely. Hundreds of people were seen walking towards the terminals carrying their luggage.
Ticket counter staffs at different bus terminals tried to capitalise on the huge demand for tickets and charged Tk 100 to Tk 200 more than normal fare.
Sirajul Islam, passenger of a Jhenidah-bound bus of Shohag Paribahan, said, “The staffs took from me Tk 250 for a ticket instead of Tk 150”.
Asked about this, a staff member of the transport company admitted that they were overcharging the passengers on the eve of the Eid.
Executive Member of Bangladesh Bus-Truck Owners’ Association Salahuddin Ahmed said each of the 125 transport companies that operate through Gabtoli bus terminal has increased their operation by 20 to 25 percent to cope with the Eid rush of passengers.
He however denied all allegation of overcharging the passengers.
“We have asked our staffs to follow the fare rates fixed by the government ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr”, he said.

KAMALAPUR RAILWAY STATION
Although the railway authorities arranged advance sale of tickets ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha, all tickets of the 24 inter-city trains were already sold out.
They also tagged extra compartments with each inter-city and express trains, said Muhammad Shamsul Haque, station master at Kamalapur station.
“Inter-city trains have the capacity of carrying 16,718 seating passengers, and tickets for those are already sold out. Tickets for mail and express trains, which can be bought instantly from the stations, are unsold now,” he said yesterday.
These trains have a total of around 6,000 seats, he said.
People were now buying ‘standing tickets’ for inter-city trains, which would not ensure any seats for them. They have already sold around 6,000 ‘standing tickets’, the station master said.
Yesterday, many home-goers were seen on the roof-top of different trains braving their lives. 
SADARGHAT LAUNCH TERMINAL
All roads towards Sadarghat launch terminal were packed with vehicles carrying home- going passengers since yesterday noon. The traffic congestion took a serious turn as a cattle market was set up at nearby Naya Bazar.
Many of the passengers alleged that launch staffs were overcharging them by Tk 100 to 200 each.
Each of the launches were seen overloaded with passengers yesterday.
“A Bhola-bound launch with a capacity of around 400 passengers, was carrying about 600 passengers,” alleged Mohiuddin, a passenger.
The home-goers however expressed their satisfaction at the absence of brokers at the terminal this time.

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