The government has issued a notification extending the restrictions on coronavirus infection till midnight on May 5. It has given instructions on quarantine for passengers returning from abroad.
Passengers from the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia and China who bring vaccination and Corona Negative certificates will be quarantined at home for 14 days, the circular said. In that case they have to inform the concerned police station about their arrival and quarantine.
And passengers from these countries who will only bring a Corona Negative Certificate will have to stay in the quarantine system prescribed by the government. If the doctors agree to examine them within three to five days, they will be able to stay in quarantine for 14 days at their respective homes.
Apart from this, passengers from other countries will stay in quarantine for 14 days at the government-designated hotel at their own expense.
After the end of the current lockdown, the transport owners have demanded to start public transport from April 29. They say they want to introduce long-distance buses including the capital. In this case it can be run in a limited size, i.e. with half the seats left vacant. They will also be active in following the hygiene rules.
Khandaker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, told Prothom Alo that he has been in touch with various levels of government, including Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader. No assurance was received that public transport would be launched before April 28. However, they have strongly demanded that public transport be introduced from April 29.
Meanwhile, government sources say it is difficult to keep public transport closed after the opening of shopping malls in the capital. Besides, the office-court will also open from April 29. In that case public transport must be introduced. Now the question is, will the public transport be introduced only in the city corporation area, or will the long-distance bus also run? The government has not yet made a clear decision on that. This will include discussions between public health experts, transport sector stakeholders and various levels of government. However, public transport may be introduced in the city corporation area with half the seats vacant at the beginning. After that, there is a possibility of understanding the situation in stages and going on a long distance journey.
In this regard, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain told Prothom Alo that the government is working to protect both the lives and livelihoods of the people. In this case, more emphasis will be placed on ‘no mask, no service’. The issue of launching public transport will be discussed on April 28. The issue of how many seats will be left vacant when public transport is introduced will also be discussed. Everything will be final in that meeting.
Due to the deteriorating situation in Corona, the government has banned long-distance public transport, including passenger vessels. But in the Kazirhat-Aricha waterway, in addition to the ban, speedboats and motor boats are being used to carry more passengers. It is a far cry to maintain social distance, they have to cross each other.
Passengers are being charged one and a half times more than usual during the crossing. Kazirhat and Arichar designated wharves were used for picking up passengers, but they were being unloaded at a char about half a kilometer away from the wharf. From there the passengers have to walk to Kazirhat port and get on the vehicles. It is learned that the passengers are being taken away from the main ghat in fear of the police and the administration.
People associated with the Kazirhat waterway said that the Kazirhat-Aricha waterway is already quite risky. Passenger crossings on motorized boats are prohibited on this waterway. But despite this, there are regular passenger crossings in this risky vessel. Earlier, an engine-driven boat with extra passengers sank several times.
Although the fare for a passenger boat is Tk 80, it was seen to be Tk 100 to 110 on Friday. Each speedboat carried 18 passengers but carried more than 20. 200 rupees is being rented for 300 rupees.
He spoke to Abdul Malek, a resident of Pushpapara area of Pabna, on Friday afternoon. He said he took a speedboat from Kazirhat to Aricha on Friday morning to take the girl to Aricha. At that time the speedboat left the main wharf. The rent is 300 rupees. 20 passengers were also taken. When asked about the reasons for the higher fares, the speedboat authorities said it would cost extra money to “manage” the police. But on the same day when returning, the rent is 200 rupees.
A speedboat with 20 passengers from Aricha speedboat reached Kazirhat around 12 noon yesterday. The driver said more fares and passengers. Obaidul said, “All the speedboats operating illegally are illegal.” However, Haider Ali, who is in charge of speedboat management at Kazirhat seaport, said that to his knowledge, the speedboat movement on this waterway has been completely stopped.
Thandu Sheikh, a local UP member, is one of the owners of the motor boats in the Kazirhat wharf area. He said the number of passengers on the Kazirhat-Aricha waterway has already decreased. Most of the passengers who are still coming are traveling by ferry. So no trawler (engine driven boat) is running. Although one or two trawlers are operating illegally, there are no passengers in them.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Aminpur Police Station Raushan Ali said he was personally visiting the Kazirhat wharf to monitor the situation. It is being monitored so that no one can move illegally. It is absolutely false to ‘manage’ the police.