People who left Dhaka to celebrate Eid, which fell on August 20, with families in outlying areas huddled at bus, railway and launch terminals across the country on Friday to start for Dhaka.
Most of the trains entered the Kamalapur railway station packed, with many sitting on the roofs, standing in passages and hanging in the doors.
Long-distance buses entered the city full of passengers even on the engine covers, extra seats and roofs while launches, mainly from the south, reached Sadarghat overcrowded, witnesses said.
People huddled in counters of of transports to buy tickets for higher prices but most of the transports were behind their schedules, even by hours. The ticket counters faced a mad rush on Friday, reports from districts said.
The three-day Eid holiday beginning on August 19 came to span a week because of public holidays for National Mourning Day on August 15, Shab-e-Qadr on August 16 and the weekend in August 17–18. The people who could manage casual leave for August 22 and 23 could enjoy four more days as the holiday, including the weekend.
The Brahmaputra Express from Dewanganj in Jamalpur that reached Kamlapur around 1:30pm, 45 minutes behind the schedule, had no space on the roof empty.
Many of the passengers of the 14-compartment train said that they could not buy tickets at railway stations but they managed to travel on the roof by paying railway people who helped them with ladders to climb onto the roof.
‘I climbed onto the roof of the Brahmaputra Express with my wife and five-year-old child at Islampur in Jamalpur by paying Tk 120 to a railway man. He only helped us by lending a with a ladder to climb,’ Md Asad, told New Age at Kamalapur.
An Upakul Express passenger, Md Rasel, from Noakhali, said that his train was crowded to capacity and there was no place to set foot inside the train when it left Noakhali.
‘A huge number of people got onto the roof but when it reached Akhaura, there was no place even on the roof and so the train left Akhaura leaving a huge number of passengers behind,’ he said. Upakul Express that reached Kamalapur about 1:15pm was late by 50 minutes.
The Silk City Express from Rajshahi, scheduled to reach Kamlapur at 1:30pm, was late by two hours and a quarter.
In Rajshahi, a huge number of passengers, who could not get train tickets, had to rush to the bus terminal to buy tickets for higher prices — for Tk 500 instead of Tk 400.
In Chittagong, many roamed about the bus counters to buy tickets for higher prices but they had to come back empty-handed. People having advance tickets could travel to Dhaka on Friday.
The trains that left Chittagong on the day were over-crowded.
People at Eagle Paribahan, Hanif Paribahan, Saudia and AK Travels counters in Khulna said that they had not tickets for travel on Friday and Saturday as all their tickets were sold in advance.
The New Age correspondent in Barisal said that thousands of people at the Barisal port failed to get tickets for the return journey on Friday night as
overcrowding forced launches to leave the port for Sadarghat earlier than the schedule.
-With New Age input