The authorities resolved to enforce the health and safety guidelines on Monday morning, resulting in queues stretching up to half a kilometre in length. However, as the day progressed and the number of passengers increased, it became impossible to apply the rules.
"We are struggling to control the passengers," BIWTA Port Officer Abul Bashar Majumder said.
The public transport system along with offices and workplaces reopened on Sunday after the government decided against extending a nationwide lockdown that had been in effect since Mar 26 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On Sunday, many passengers at the terminal were reluctant to follow the hygiene rules, prompting the authorities to temporarily suspend BIWTA Port Officer Abdur Razzak over the chaos.
“We have to go to Dhaka for the sake of our livelihoods. There is a huge crowd at the terminal. It is not possible to maintain social distancing in any way,” a launch passenger said.
“People are risking their lives to get on the launches but we are trying to control the situation," said Majumder.