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Curbs toughen to delink Dhaka

BANGLADESH (The Daily Star/ANN) -- Dhaka has been virtually cut off from the rest of the country following the suspension of all inter-district transports  road, rail and waterway  to stem the surge in Covid infections and deaths.
The latest restrictions were imposed yesterday, a day after the government enforced lockdown in seven districts around Dhaka.
Bangladesh Railway suspended all passenger trains from Dhaka to other parts of the country from 12:01am today, said Sardar Shahadat Ali, additional director general operations of the BR.

People heading for the capital walk along Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar’s Baliarpur area yesterday morning as vehicles are caught in a long tailback after law enforcers barred them from entering the city to enforce Covid-19 lockdown.                  --Photo Palash Khan

However, passenger trains between other districts and cities would run as usual, he told The Daily Star on Tuesday.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) also suspended operation of all launches to and from Dhaka.
“We have taken the measures in line with the directives of the higher authorities,” said Zainal Abedin, joint director of BIWTA.
In reply to a query, he said some passengers, unaware of the restrictions, went to Sadarghat Launch Terminal to go to different destinations yesterday. They returned home after learning about the curbs.
Flight operations on different routes from the capital will continue as usual.
“It is up to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh to decide on the matter. We have not yet got any instructions from it,” Biman Deputy General Manager public relations Tahera Khandakar told this newspaper.
Meanwhile, the nine-day restrictions on public and vehicular movement came into effect in seven districts surrounding Dhaka from 6:00am on Tuesday.
The law enforcement agencies strictly enforced the restrictions, preventing vehicles from entering the capital.
There were traffic congestions from Hemayetpur to Gabtoli and from Abdullapur to Tongi intersection as police intercepted vehicles at the entry points to the capital and compelled those to make U-turns, report our correspondents.
Many were seen walking to their destinations in the rain.
Contacted, Suvenkar Ghosh, joint secretary of Bangladesh Bus Truck Owners’ Association, said the operation of long-haul buses was suspended as per the government instructions.
“As the directives came quite late on Monday night, many drivers and commuters were not aware of those. And a number of Dhaka-bound vehicles had been barred by law enforcers at several points from entering Dhaka,” Suvenkar said.
No vehicles without emergency reasons were allowed to enter Dhaka through the seven districts yesterday, causing sufferings to many commuters, including office-goers who come to the capital from the surrounding districts.
Earlier on Monday, the government imposed restrictions on public and vehicular movement across Manikganj, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Gazipur, Madaripur, Rajbari and Gopalganj till June 30, taking into account the deteriorating Covid situation in those districts.
These districts are supposed to be completely cut off from the rest of the country and nobody is allowed to enter or exit those except for emergency reasons, according to the directives from the Cabinet Division.
However, many commuters were seen avoiding the check posts on highways. They took rickshaws or auto-rickshaws and also rented motorbikes to reach their destinations through alternative routes.
A number of them said they had to spend extra money to go to their workplaces as public transport was suspended, reports our correspondents from these districts.
Some of them said they had to change vehicles multiple times and even walk to their workplaces.
Markets and shops, except for medical stores, were mostly shut in these districts.
Many people, however, were seen flouting the health safety rules.
No vehicles other than ambulances and those used for emergency services were allowed to use ferries on three routes in Munshiganj and Manikganj.
Some commuters, however, forcibly boarded ferries at Shimulia terminal in Munshiganj to reach the capital.

(Latest Update June 24, 2021)

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