Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 36, Tuesday, September 07, 2010

 

 

Spotlight

going home in Eid

Dhaka is once again witness to a seasonal migration for Eid, the yearly exodus where near 50 lakh of its dwellers head back home, to the numerous towns and villages across the country.

People leave the city in a wild rush to head back to their roots. They travel by bus, by train, launch, while others hire cars.

To make train journeys more people friendly, Bangladesh Railway has taken the initiative of booking tickets using mobile phone services. Grameenphone and Banglalink are working with the railway in this joint initiative.

Twenty percent of railway tickets are being sold through these mobile phone services. One has to go to a neighbouring mobile phone recharge centre to book a ticket if he wants to avoid the excessive rush for booking tickets. The railway has started selling tickets in advance from August 31.

Train journeys are considered safest, it is also low cost and comfortable. Train fares have not risen since 1992. Bangladesh Railway has the capacity of transporting 10,000 people per day.

Arzuman Ara Begum, a schoolteacher goes home to Dinajpur where her family and in-laws live. With her husband and two sons, she usually goes home by bus although she also has the option to travel by train. “Travelling by train is safe and comfortable as well, yet I prefer to go by bus. Saves time,” said Arzuman Ara.

A good number of people pick buses as their choice of transport for going home during Eid. Travelling by luxury bus services is relatively safe as the drivers are skilled and more responsible. There is also an attendant in the bus who is there to foresee the problems of the travellers.

Despite the fact that bus fares are comparatively higher than fares of other vehicles, people who are able to bear the cost, prefer this mode of transport. Fares of luxury bus services are between Tk550 to Tk1250.

A large portion of city dwellers go home by launches. According to the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) during the Eid-ul-Fitr around 12 lakh people go home by launch through Sadarghat terminal during Ramadan.

Most of the launch users go to the southern part of the country namely Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna and Bhola. Sources said some 400 launches leave Sadarghat every day and those launches have a carrying capacity of around 1 lakh 20 thousand people.

A large section of the people who go home for Eid, prefer to avoid all sorts of rush for booking tickets and want to go home comfortably and with friends or family, by hiring cars.

Penny and Co, a rent-a-car service at the north side of Bangladesh Secretariat is in the business of renting out cars for the last 30 years. General Secretary of this organisation Mohammed Shah Alam Hawlader said that it has around 50 private cars and microbuses. People generally start to go home after 25 Ramadan and nearly around a thousand people leave in the five days before Eid. Rent varies according to the distance, fuel cost, driver cost, and preference for one way or two-way journey.

The effort that goes behind the excursion, from buying the tickets to embarking on the actual journey, is a tiring, yet fulfilling one. Eid seems sweeter when you see the smile on the faces of your loved ones. Eid becomes meaningful because it is home …sweet home…

By Mahtabi Zaman


 

 

 

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