Not quite a sign of proper road traffic management
TAILBACKS, especially during Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, the two major festivals for Muslims, when millions of people living in the capital Dhaka go to the countryside to celebrate the festivals with their near and dear ones, on highways connecting different parts of the country to the capital have been a regular phenomenon for some years now. Moreover, on every such occasion, people at large have demanded effective measures from the government to prevent recurrence of the problem. Regrettably, however, their exhortations appear to have fallen on deaf ears, which is perhaps why the problem seems to have taken a turn for the worse this year.
As New Age reported on Sunday, thousands of passengers returning to Dhaka after Eid celebrations got stuck in a 60-kilometre tailback on the highway stretch from Kaliakoir in Gazipur to the east of Jamuna Bridge in Tangail from dawn to dusk on Saturday. Moreover, hundreds of vehicles seeking to cross the river have had to wait for hours since Thursday at Daulatdia and Paturia terminals causing long tailbacks on the adjoining highways. As a result, while thousands of passengers, particularly women and children, have been stranded on roads for hours facing enormous sufferings, thousands more willing to move to and from Dhaka have had to cancel their journey for the lack of adequate transports. Additionally, as Bangladesh Railway officials commented, such huge tailbacks on highways led Dhaka-bound passengers to opt for trains in disproportionate numbers putting train schedules in chaos.
Despite the officials concerned seeking to blame the rush of Dhaka-bound passengers, particularly against the backdrop of the recent 48-hour country-wide hartal enforced by the Jamaat-e-Islam for all this, according to different media reports, it is poor traffic management, coupled with various makeshift markets on the highways slowing down vehicles’ movement, which is primarily to blame for the tailbacks. One can refer to the fact that the government has on a number of occasions decided to evict all illegal installations and markets along highways to ensure smooth operation of motorised vehicles; its words have thus far not translated into reality. Meanwhile, the pledges the incumbent communications minister, a career politician, who took office in December 2011 replacing Abul Hosen in the face of huge public outcry against the latter over his alleged involvement in the Padma scam and poor performance in running the ministry, made to address public concerns about road safety and traffic congestions still remain high on rhetoric and low on substance. It is high time that conscious sections of society came forward and mounted pressure on the government to solve the problem.
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