Eid exodus gives city a quieter look
ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: While the transporters have already received the seasonal boom in business as a large number of citizens of Rawalpindi and Islamabad started leaving for their hometown on Friday to spend Eid there, the CNG and petrol stations are gearing up to meet the massive rush from Saturday.
Traditionally, the population of Islamabad considerably shrinks on Eid days but this year the reduction will be much higher due to almost nine days holidays.
“Starting from Saturday, August 18 we only have to take two leave on Thursday and Friday and there will be a nine days off,” said a senior official in federal government, “This gives people like me to go to the native area,” he said, referring to his hometown in Sindh.
Most of the travellers to Sindh prefer to go to Lahore and take a fast moving train to Karachi and other parts of Sindh from there.
However, for those whose parents or members of extended families are in Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Central Punjab the journey was possible even after Friday Iftari.
With the first phase of exodus starting Friday evening many passengers felt that the transporters were exploiting them, not only in terms of charging higher fares but in terms of indirect fares.“Since they see that we are going with the family to celebrate Eid in hometown, these transporters even charge for the luggage,” said passengers at Faizabad bus stand.
The mass movement from Islamabad has been a tradition on Eid days because a large number of federal government employees still belong to other parts of the country, who have shifted to the city due to the job requirements.
Besides, a large number of private employees and especially the professionals working at workshops, food business and other small businesses have families in their native areas.
A large number of people falling in this category resides in Rawalpindi too.
An official of Islamabad district administration said that an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people travel by bus from Islamabad
and Rawalpindi to other cities on the occasion of Eid.
The main intercity bus stands of the twin cites including Faizabad, Pirwadhai, Karachi Company and Soan have started witnessing massive rush from late Friday evening and it is expected to swell manifold from Saturday morning.
Even the phone number of prominent transporters remained busy after 9pm on Friday and they closed advance booking, even to distant place like Karachi.
The only reply was that those who reach the bus terminal will get the seat. “We can only tell you departure time,” the reply of all the transporters was almost same.
However, the number of departures by private vehicle was comparatively less on Friday and the CNG station / petrol pump owners are expecting massive rush on Saturday.
“Actually, people with cars will get ready in the morning and leave by noon to reach their destination by evening and night depending on the place they are going,” said Raja Wasim, CNG and petrol pump owner at Super market.
He said that a great rush for servicing and car wash was also expected on Saturday and Sunday.
“The advantage is that Eid is expected to be on Monday so there is enough time to depart,” he added.