Thursday, May 23, 2024

Third Day of Lockdown: City streets see more vehicles

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Public and vehicular movement seemed to have increased on the streets of Dhaka and elsewhere on the third day of the countrywide “lockdown”.

People mostly left home to either go to offices or factories, provide emergency services, or to go to kitchen markets. Rural areas and alleys were more crowded than main thoroughfares.

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Meanwhile, some low-income people were leaving the capital using different modes of transport despite a lockdown being imposed.

On the roads, there were checkposts, manned by teams of the army, BGB, Rab and police. There were executive magistrates at some of the posts.

They stopped traffic and those who failed to explain why they ventured outdoors were detained or fined.

More people were detained and penalised for violating the rules yesterday compared to the previous two days.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday detained 621 people in Ramna, Lalbagh, Motijheel, Wari, Tejgaon, Mirpur, Gulshan, Uttara and other places in the capital, according DMP’s media wing.

Among them, more than a hundred people were detained and fined at different parts of Old Dhaka.

Besides, mobile courts fined 346 people with a total of Tk 1.06 lakh. At least 855 vehicles were fined with a total of Tk 19.22 lakh, the DMP said.

Police arrested 550 people on the first day of the lockdown for violations, while 320 were arrested on the second day.

Yesterday, Rapid Action Battalion teams conducted 172 patrols and set up 181 check posts across the country, said another statement, adding that 31 mobile courts, accompanied by Rab, fined 277 people a total of Tk 1.98 lakh.

Visiting some areas of the capital, this correspondent found more people were on neighbourhood lanes than on main roads. Some of them weren’t even wearing masks, while some shops were found open in different alleys.

Rab said that they would conduct drives in the alleys to check for public gatherings.

Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of Rab’s legal and media wing, at a press briefing in the capital’s Russel Square, told reporters that although there were less people on the streets, many were seen in alleys and most of them were not following hygiene rules.

If necessary, Rab will conduct special drives in these places, he warned.

Visiting some checkpoints in the capital, The Daily Star found that some people were outside for trivial reasons.

At Shahbagh, army and police set up four separate check posts at the entrances of the intersection. They stopped every vehicle crossing the roads and questioned passengers.

Around 12:30pm, they stopped a private car with a sticker of a government organisation. The driver admitted that he came out to pick up passengers on rent. He was fined Tk 1,000.

“We even stopped a man carrying a jackfruit to his relative’s house by rickshaw. See how negligent the people are being?” asked Marufa Sultana Khan, an executive magistrate at the checkpost.

Amid restrictions, some low-income people made desperate attempts to leave the capital.

At Gabtoli, Rubi Begum, 40, and her 23-year-old daughter, were waiting for a vehicle to go to Dinajpur.

The family used to live in a rented house in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and ran a small restaurant, visited mostly by students. As the agriculture university closed down due to the lockdown, they were facing losses and could not pay their house rent.

Rubi said they had to leave the house yesterday.

“My husband and son will now live inside the restaurant. But there is no room for a mother and daughter,” she said.

She had Tk 4,000 to travel while a private car charged Tk 9,000.

“We are waiting for three more passengers to fill the seats,” she said while waiting at Amin Bazar.

While visiting that Dhaka-Aricha highway and Savar, our photojournalists found RMG workers, mostly walking in groups, going to their work places.

Those who live far from their factories were either waiting for buses or battery-run auto-rickshaws.

Many of them were seen without masks and not maintaining distancing. They were also crammed into vehicles as there was a shortage of transportation on the roads due to the lockdown.

Yesterday, there were no public transports on city streets.

People were mostly using rickshaws, besides using private cars and motorbikes.

Most shops and markets remained closed.

Kitchen markets in the city remained open, with the government allowing them to operate from 8:00am to 5:00pm. A good number of people were seen buying essentials at Mohammadpur Town Hall and Karwan Bazar kitchen markets.

Outside Dhaka, law enforcers were seen on roads and highways, in and around cities and towns.

Additional police force was deployed at the sea side of Akmal Ali Road under the EPZ Police Station in Chattogram yesterday after some videos went viral on social media on Friday showing a good number of people visiting the area, with young boys playing football in front of police.

Visiting various areas of Khulna city, our correspondent found many people on the streets on the third day of the nationwide lockdown. Many rickshaws and vans were out and about with passengers.

Our correspondents in Rangpur, Dinajpur and Faridpur reported that law enforcers were active in those areas and fined a good number of people for violating stay-at-home orders.

The government imposed a seven-day-long “strict lockdown” from July 1 to July 7 midnight, to contain the increase in Covid-19 infections across the country.


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