Sun, 25 September 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Mad rush of morning traffic as Bangladesh brings forward office time amid recurrent power outage

Update : 25 Aug 2022, 13:06

Commuters in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka were apparently in a mad rush on Wednesday morning following the introduction of new working hours aimed at conserving energy.

Vehicular movement came to a halt in many areas of the mega Dhaka city in the morning, as the government changed the working hours of offices and autonomous institutions from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. to ration electricity.

Long lines of buses, cars and rickshaws were crawling along the streets, leading to interminable traffic jams as commuters joined the rush of school goers on the first day the decision came into force.

Hakim Miah, a rickshaw puller, told Xinhua that he used to take students to school without suffering traffic gridlock in the morning.

"I was taken aback to see extremely unusual traffic gridlock this morning. Then the passengers I was carrying informed me that the office time is brought forward by an hour," he said.

Most of the city neighborhoods were abuzz by 7:30 a.m. local time although shops, with the exception of eateries and grocery shops, were shuttered.

The new timetable has seemingly changed the usual morning tranquility of Dhaka city of some 20 million people with offices opening an hour earlier than usual, coinciding with that of educational institutions.

Despite best possible efforts by the traffic police to regulate vehicular movement, traffic jams continued for hours.

"Traffic congestion in parts of Dhaka has turned severe this morning since it's the first day of the new timetable. Hope from tomorrow morning traffic situation will gradually improve with enforcement of new mechanisms to regulate morning vehicular movement," said a Dhaka Metropolitan police officer on duty.

Amid a lingering energy crisis, energy-starved Bangladesh on Monday decided to reschedule the office hour of government and autonomous institutions starting Wednesday.

According to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, banks in the country will remain open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Bangladesh last month announced a country-wide load shedding of two hours daily. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier called all to maintain austerity and increase savings for any crisis in the future.

She said the prices of fuel oil have soared, and many countries have been facing a scarcity of power amid the recent global economic turmoil due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Last week, Hasina indicated her government's plan to import crude oil from Russia amid price concerns, saying "If India can procure (oil from Russia) with non-dollar payment, why can't we?"

Earlier this month, Bangladesh's retail fuel prices were hiked to levels not seen since the country's independence in 1971.

The Bangladeshi government hiked fuel prices by up to 51.7 percent.

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