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Eid holidaymakers throng Shimulia ferry port despite pandemic, turbulent waters

  • Munshiganj Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-07-20 14:05:38 BdST

Scores of homebound travellers are ignoring health restrictions at the Shimulia ferry port in Munshiganj the day before Eid-ul-Azha, despite the looming dangers of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic.

The crowds making the Shimulia-Banglabazar crossing on Tuesday morning were larger than in the past few days.

Not only are the holidaymakers braving the pandemic, they are also disregarding the rain and the turbulent waters on the Padma River to get home for the festival.

As many as 15 ferries and 87 launches are operating on the route but the vessels are struggling to cope with the number of passengers and vehicles, port authorities say.

The ferries at Shimulia were so crowded that there hardly seemed enough room to breathe. The rush of passengers has meant that vehicles are unable to board. Thousands of people and motorcycles could be seen in the port area.

People are perched near the pontoons, drenched in the rain, so they can rush onto any vessel that arrives.

"Three additional ferries are running to handle the excess load of vehicles at Shimulia but we are still struggling to cope," said Shafiqul Islam, a BIWTC assistant general manager.

Most of the passengers are not abiding by health regulations, he added.

The lines of freight trucks at the port are growing longer due to the prioritisation of passenger vehicles. Hundreds of buses and microbuses have been waiting since the morning to make the crossing.

BIWTC officials say the strong currents on the Padma River are doubling the time needed for a ferry to make each trip.