Vol. 5 Num 861 Mon. October 30, 2006  
Front Page

Dhaka at a standstill for the second day

An eerie calm continued to reign over the city for the second consecutive day yesterday as the political turmoil over appointment of the next caretaker government chief raged on with no immediate resolution in sight.

For many of the city dwellers it was hard to come to terms with the stillness of the usually teeming Dhaka city where the mass could barely have room to breathe comfortably.

The capital siege programme of the Awami League (AL) led 14-party opposition combine stepped into its second day yesterday, adding to the public anxiety.

Besides, the day marked the end of Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. But millions of people bound for the city failed to reach the destination while those who were already on their way have been through terrible ordeal with the communications being disrupted.

The road links between Dhaka and the other districts were cut off, as the inter-district buses did not operate.

Bangladesh railway continued its services but the trains were forced to halt at different places including Khanabari, Brahmanbaria, Narsinghdi, Doulatkandi, Azampur, Ijjatpur, Bhawal and Gazipur, causing delays of no less than three hours.

Badamtolighat sources said the number of passengers using the waterways has been abnormally low in the last couple of days. "Steamer Ostrich that plies the route between Dhaka and Khulna has the capacity of carrying 800 passengers whereas it had only 200 on board last evening."

In Dhaka, Karwan Bazar, otherwise a buzzing kitchen market, remained desolate as both the traders and customers opted to stay home.

Most of the city streets were empty throughout the day. Only a few rickshaws plied the roads where there was hardly any public transport, let alone private cars.

The state-run banks and other commercial establishments worked for little time while private banks remained closed.

The education institutions extended the Eid vacation; shutters of shops were kept down. The shops at the bends of neighbourhoods continued their business on a very limited scale.

Gulistan, Bangabandhu Avenue and Purana Paltan stood silent, bearing the scars of Saturday's violence.

Chittagong too continued its deserted look. The non-stop hartal continued to paralyse the normal life and trade in the port city. Labours of Chittagong port ceased loading and unloading from 1:00pm. The AL-led 14 party and BNP held rallies in close proximity amid heavy deployment of police, Rab and BDR members.

The 14-party combine continued their agitation at Janatar Mancha at Laldighi Maidan defying the section 144 yesterday.

They held rallies also on the Darul Fazal Market premises and Olonkar intersection on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway at Pahartali.

Meanwhile, BNP-led four-party alliance held a rally at Gonotantra Mancha at Kazir Dewri intersection in the afternoon.

During hartal hours, there was little vehicular movement on the city thoroughfares.

Like the other landports, Benapole was inoperative. Sources said some 2000 trucks laden with goods were stuck in the border.