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Sylhet life normal but the road still haunts

56 Life in Sylhet became normal early this month after nearly two months of violence during BNP’s indefinite blockade and general strikes but locals are still scared of making bus journeys.

The Sylhet-Dhaka road connects Sylhet with several districts, but this is the road where some of the vicious petrol bomb attacks left many injured as well as killed during the unrest.

Buses setting off from Sylhet central bus terminal would get police escort but the service was discontinued from March 14. The Dhaka-bound buses do not run at night either.

Sylhet Police Super Nure Alom Mina said escort for buses during the daytime is not provided anymore but the Dhaka -Sylhet road is still regularly patrolled.

“Resumption of long-haul night trips is at the discretion of the bus owners but a few services have returned,” he said.
Abdur Rahman, an official at the district bus terminal, said yesterday some 50 to 60 buses now carry passengers in the day.“The number is just half compared to the past,” he said.

Islam ali, a driver of Dhaka-bound Mitali Paribahan, said trips on the road do not entail any trouble now but it is the passengers who are still reeling from the past violence.

Sylhet District Motor Owners Association General Secretary said bus services would fully resume soon.
Abdul Halim a resident of Sadar, said his wife needs to be treated in Dhaka but he is unable to remove the fear of a possible attack on the road from his mind. “Even the trains are overcrowded,” he said.

Abusarkar president of Sylhet District Truck Owners Association, said more than a hundred trucks now run both in the day and at night.
Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Salahuddin said even he himself is scared of going on a journey on Dhaka- Sylhet road.

“There is still a sense of panic about the road among people but life is normal. People now go shopping but the losses traders had incurred in the last two months cannot be recouped,” he said.

“Trucks have returned on the road but transport costs have risen. Traders now have to spend more to hire trucks for transporting goods,” he added.
Foysal alom, who runs a clothing store at Modubon supermarket, said he, like other traders, faced difficulties in bringing goods from Dhaka in the last two months but the situation has improved now.

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