While traffic congestion is a regular hassle for commuters in Dhaka, things got way worse for them on Monday. ‘Unusual’ tailbacks were reported in Uttara, Moghbazar, Malibagh and Mouchak areas and on Mirpur Road and Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue between 10am and 11am, according the traffic control room of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
The officials on duty could not name specific reasons. Both the president and the prime minister travelled inside the city, making the roads they used off-limits to general traffic.
From the Bangabhaban, President Abdul Hamid first went to Radisson Hotel and then to Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on the other hand, had to go to the Secretariat from the Ganabhaban to attend the weekly cabinet meeting.
The closing of the routes aggravated the usual traffic woes, general commuters believe.
Members of the public who started from Uttara for Gulshan or Banani had to spend over an hour to get to Khilkhet, barely 5km from their starting point.
Lubna Ahmed, a private university teacher, was telling bdnews24.com about her experience on the road after she started from Uttara for her workplace in Mohakhali.
“I was stuck at Kuril for over an hour. Traffic on the entire stretch of the road was stuck in the gridlock.”
“Today’s journey took twice the time it usually takes.”
The correspondents of bdnews24.com found tailbacks in Mirpur-1, Gabtoli, Kalyanpur, and Shyamoli areas around 10am. In some places, the gridlocks stayed largely unchanged until the afternoon.
People in Mirpur, Shyamoli and some other areas had to deal with a shortage of public transport as well.
Banker Mobassher Hossain was found waiting at Shyamoli Bus Stop for a bus to Gulshan.
“There are two bus services on this route. Besides, CNG-run three-wheelers are also usually available here.
“But I have no idea what’s wrong today. No bus, no three-wheeler yet!” he vented his frustration.
Some transport workers told bdnews24.com that the shortage of public transport was largely because many buses were hired for an Awami League rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on Monday afternoon.
Then again, some owners chose not to operate their buses to avoid the hassles likely to be caused by the programme, according to bdnews24.com.