Abu Taher Bappa

2020-05-29 00:09:55 BdST

People returning to Dhaka after a sombre Eid

At the end of Ramadan, the Shawwal Moon brings joy and happiness to Muslims who celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr by praying on the Eid prayer grounds, embracing each other and exchanging greetings.

However, this Eid was unprecedented and gloomy due to the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Moreover, super cyclone Amphan has worsened the situation as many crop fields and localities were flooded by tidal waves in the southern coast in Bangladesh where many Muslims had to offer Eid prayer in knee-deep water.

As the Eid vacation is over, people have started coming to Dhaka to return to work. There are crowds of working people at various entrances of Dhaka city.

At Mawa and Daulatdia ferry terminal, working people from the South-Western region of Bangladesh had already started coming before the Eid vacation ended as many garment factories and other offices were open.

As public transportation is not available, there are throngs of people from the northern region at the entrance of Jamuna Bridge who are coming to Dhaka by various means and paying a high fare.

On Thursday, thousands of people returned to Dhaka through the Daulatdia-Paturia ferry terminal – the entry point for people from 21 South-Western districts.

Daulatdia terminal authorities said though public transport was not available, private vehicles, ambulances, goods-laden trucks, and emergency vehicles came to Dhaka, posing a threat of Covid-19 infection. Five ferries are in operation at present.

"Public transportation is banned as per the government directive. The ferry operates on a limited scale for ambulances and cargo trucks, however, due to the excessive pressure of people, we cannot provide service to cargo trucks. Almost all ferries are overcrowded with people who are mostly garment workers or private service holders," said Abu Abdullah Roni, manager of BIWTC Daulatdia office.

People from South-Eastern regions are also coming to Dhaka via Meghna Bridge. People have no other choice but to use microbuses or other small vehicles by paying a higher fare.

Salah Uddin from Bhola, a garment factory worker in Dhaka, said he went home with much hassle and is returning Dhaka on Thursday to save his job despite the hassle on the road.

"Amid the high waves in the Meghna river, I came to Lakshmipur by boat, then to Saidabad by a microbus. Again, I took a microbus to get to Gazipur," he said.

"Usually, it takes Tk500-600 to reach my workplace but I had to spend Tk3,500. Many people are facing the same problem," he added. 

Eid a nightmare in coastal areas due to amphan

Amzad Hossain from Sharonkhola in Bagerhat, who was home quarantined for almost three months and without any income, lost three fish enclosures in Amphan.

"In 2007, though Sidr destroyed extensively, our Eid was not affected. However, this Eid was the worst as I did not have any money to buy food let alone buying new clothes and other things," he said.

People from more than nine coastal districts had the same experience.

Home quarantine Eid in Dhaka

Eid prayers were held in mosques in Dhaka maintaining health safety guidelines and social distancing, however, there was no embracing and handshaking.

Due to the Covid-19 fear, there were fewer people in the mosques. Many have observed prayer at home and posted on social media.

Shopping malls, amusement parks, tourist spots, cinema halls, and cineplexes were also closed.

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