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Thousands flock to hometowns for Eid

Thousands of people left Lahore for their hometowns on Thursday to celebrate the festivity of Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones.

Around four to five million people leave the provincial metropolis on the occasions of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, as per some estimates. The city roads and resident colonies present a deserted look on the two yearly celebrations of Muslims due to a mass exodus to ancestral villages.

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The travelling for homebound people starts almost a week before the Eids. With over three days left to Eid, an extraordinary rush of passengers was witnessed on Thursday. The roads, entry and exit points, train stations and bus terminals were brimming with people excited about the homecoming journey. A storm of travellers would continue to hit the bus terminals during the next three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

The federal and provincial governments have announced four-day Eid holidays beginning from May 2 (Monday).

Manager at Niazi Bus Terminal Amjad Niazi said the peak of the rush would be seen on Friday evening and throughout the day on Saturday.

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He said outsiders, mainly from areas of southern and central Punjab started leaving Lahore days before and their exodus would complete till Saturday evening. However, people belonging to nearer cities, like Sheikhupura, Kasur, Okara, Pattoki, Gujranwala, would remain in Lahore for their businesses and would leave the city on Sunday, he added.

Lahore is a city of more than 10 million population and half of the residents belong to other cities. They include businessmen, shopkeepers, government and private companies’ employees, laborers at industrial units, daily wagers and students.

Those who started to leave the city days before the Eid holidays included workers at industrial units, universities and colleges’ students, and government’s employees belonging to far-off areas. Many government servants, who live in the city with families take some extra leaves from their offices and preferred to go home days before to avoid hustle and rush at bus terminals.

Rush was seen at bus stands including Jinnah Bus Terminal Thoker Niaz Baig bypass, Niazi Bus Terminals, City Bus Terminals near Chowk Yatim Khana, Daewoo Bus Terminal at Thoker Niaz Baig during the visit to these sites by Minute Mirror. Mangers at bus terminals said their booking till Sunday was almost completed.

The Lahore’s Railways Station was observed being packed with passengers as most families with children and luggage prefer trains over buses for a long journey.

A passenger, Muhammad Safar, who wanted to go D.G Khan, said he was waiting for the ticket for three hours. Long queues were seen at booking terminals with some passengers also complaining about extra charging from transport companies. However, standard transport companies like Daewoo, Faisal Movers, Rahbar Travel and some others were charging the usual fare.

Transport authorities have publicized numbers for people to make complaints in case of extra-charging by transporters. A passenger can complaint to Motorways and Highways authorities and the Transport Department at the given cell numbers in case of extra-charging.

The Pakistan Railways is also operating five special trains to facilitate passengers from different city stations, including Lahore, to cater to a large number of commuters. The Pakistan railways also slashed 30 percent fare on Eid holidays.

According to PR officials, booking on special trains had already completed by 100 percent after the Pakistan Railways announced these special trains, while booking for the regular train would complete till Friday. They said that the regular trains would also run with extra coaches to accommodate extra passengers. According to PR’s estimate at least 500,000 people will travel by trains during the Eid days.

Meanwhile, National Highway and Motorway Police have formed a special force to deal with the complaints of travellers.

The transporters justify this increase, saying they have to return back to the Lahore with empty vehicles.



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