Extend Eid holidays to prevent road accidents, demands Passenger Welfare Association

The Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh demanded another two days off to reduce accidents and curb excess fares

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 27 March 2024, 09:47 AM
Updated : 27 March 2024, 09:47 AM

The Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh has demanded an extension of the Eid holidays by two more days in a bid to ease the suffering of travelling holidaymakers, curb escalating transport fares, and prevent road accidents.

As many as 16 million people - including 10 million from Dhaka, 4 million from Gazipur, and 1.2 million from Narayanganj - would be travelling during the Eid holidays, the PWAB said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

They predicted 3 million passengers would travel by bus and minibus, 400,000 by train, 3.5 million by car, jeep, and microbus, 1.2 million by motorcycle, 6 million by launch, 100,000 by airplane, and 1.8 million on train roofs, pickup trucks and freight vehicles in the four days before Eid. Between 40 million to 50 million passengers will travel across district lines.

As a result, the different transports across the country will make 600 million trips from Apr 5 to Apr 14. The association warned the situation could get out of control if the proper use of public transport was not ensured.

With Eid estimated to fall on Apr 11, only Apr 10 – a single day – has been designated a public holiday before Eid. The Eid break extends five days due to the weekend and Pahela Boishakh, or the Bengali New Year, falling on Apr 14. But, due to the extended holiday, people from many religious communities may decide to travel to their village homes, leading to an estimated uptick in the number of travellers this year.

Around 6 million to 7 million passengers would leave Dhaka on Apr 9 and Apr 10, the PWAB said. But the public transport sector can only cater to 2.2 million to 2.5 million people every day. Under these circumstances, it would be catastrophic if the authorities didn’t extend the holidays before Eid, they said.

If Apr 8 and Apr 9 were also declared holidays, passengers would be able to travel easily as Apr 5 and 6 would fall on the weekend, they said.

According to the media reports, 714 points across the country were identified to have severe traffic jams, said Md Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, PWAB general secretary. At least 140 of them needed strict monitoring, he said. Police and other intelligence agencies have alerted the government about 218 high-risk accident spots on 10 national and regional highways.

At least 60 percent of the road accidents occur on those 218 spots, the PWAB members observed. People living in Dhaka would face the most trouble due to traffic congestion during the Eid holidays. Hence the PWAB demanded the removal of hawkers from footpaths, the removal of illegally parked cars, and a ban on rickshaws, easybikes, and similar vehicles on highways.