Dhaka’s metro rail system has experienced an overflow of passengers during the weekend due to the arrival of pilgrims in Dhaka to attend Biswa Ijtema, the second-largest congregation of Muslims after Hajj.
The authorities were forced to close the gates at Agargaon station 15 minutes before schedule on Saturday.
The recently inaugurated Dhaka Metro Rail, the first in Bangladesh, is operating from the northmost station in Uttara to Agargaon with no halts at the intermediate stations from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
The station gates open at 8 am and close at 12 pm.
An on-duty policeman was trying to explain to some passengers that the gates were closed as the station was filled with passengers, waiting to board the train.
Abu Bakar Siddique, a waiting passenger who wanted to go to Tongi via Uttara to attend the Islamic congregation, was frustrated with the closure of the gates ahead of time.
“I thought it would be easier to go to Tongi on the metro train, but the gates were closed while we were still waiting in the queue outside. That’s not fair. Why should we suffer for its limited capacity?” he said.
Fahmida Naeem, another passenger waiting outside, said she wasn't allowed in even though she arrived at the station 20 minutes before the closure.
“I have to go back to Uttara. I know the schedule and that’s why I came to the station before the last train's departure. But they [the authorities] didn’t let me in,” she said.
More than 100 passengers were waiting in the queue to enter the station.
Md Mahfuzur Rahman, deputy project manager of Dhaka Mass Transit Company, said they were working on increasing the station’s capacity.
“We had to close the gates ahead of schedule because the crowds were overflowing. We are working to increase the capacity of the station to handle more crowds,” he said.
The authorities have recently announced that passengers could also hop on and off from Pallabi from Jan 25.
The Motijheel-Kamalapur section is expected to open by December 2024 after the possible opening of the Agargaon-Motijheel route by the end of 2023.