Large numbers of people are checking out every day without getting tested and sanitisation at different exit points of Dhaka
The number of homebound passengers leaving Dhaka has steeply increased at train and launch terminals after the government shut down educational institutions across the country for around two weeks over the coronavirus pandemic.
However, these people are checking out of the capital every day without getting their temperatures checked or using hand sanitisers at different exit points of Dhaka.
Hamidul Islam Khan, acting station manager at the Kamalapur Railway Station, said they sold over 40,000 train tickets daily in the last four days. The station usually sells 30,000-35,000 train tickets per day.
"The rush of passengers began on March 16 when the government declared shutting down educational institutions around the country," he said, adding that they saw the highest number of ticket sales at around 52,000 on March 16.
Railway officials said more than 60,000 passengers pass through the railway station every day.
Bangladesh Inland Waterway Transport Authority (BIWTA) Chairman Commodore Golam Sadeq, too, said they handled an increased number of passengers in the past few days.
During a visit to the Kamlapur station at 7:30am on Thursday, The Business Standard found no arrangement for checking temperatures of, and providing sanitisers to, the outbound and inbound passengers.
No announcements on passenger safety or hygiene practices were heard on the station premises either.
Only at about 10am were two ticket collectors seen randomly providing santisers to, and checking body temperatures of, passengers. As a result, most of the passengers entered the station without a health check-up or using sanitisers.
However, Hamidul Islam claimed they had taken measures to make passengers aware of the deadly pandemic and their safety.
Morshedul Islam, a management student at a private university bound for his hometown in Bogura, said no one checked his temperature at the station gate.
"We, the Dhaka dwellers, are not that conscious. If anyone [in Dhaka] makes a mistake, it will be dangerous. As villages are not densely populated they seem to be safe," said Morshedul.
An Old Dhaka businessman Rony Rahman, along with his eight-year-old son Mustakim, was waiting for the Rangpur Express.
He said that his child's school had already been closed and that it gave him a good opportunity to visit his hometown.
On Thursday morning, The Business Standard visited Sadarghat Launch Terminal too. Many people, mostly students, were seen waiting to board launches.
But even there no arrangements were made to check the temperature of passengers and providing them with sanitisers before boarding.
Mohammed Hasan, sales representative of a children's food manufacturing company, said he was going to his hometown to avoid the coronavirus infection.
"As schools have been shut down, our product sales have decreased too. I thought it would be better to make a good use of this time," he said.
Eight students from a madrasa in Rampura, along with their teacher Hafez Forkan Ali, were seen boarded on a launch on the way back to their homes in Barguna. They were going to enjoy the holidays at their homes.
"As the madrasa is closed, I am taking these students to their homes," said Forkan, adding that the students would come back after the coronavirus situation improves.
None of them were given hand sanitisers before getting on the launch.