Boats ferrying people at Talachua Ghat flout norms

Kendrapara: Boats engaged in ferrying people from Talachua Ghat in Rajanagar block of Kendrapara district have been found violating the norms laid down by the government.

Boats which have a stipulated capacity of 25 to 30 people are ferrying more than 100 people putting the life of passengers at grave danger.

The locals have claimed that the ferry boats neither have licenses nor life-jackets. Around 30,000 people from the nearby panchayats of Baghmari, Keruapal, Rangani and Krushnadaspur depend on these ferries for their everyday travel to Bhadrak.

According to sources, even patients risk their lives while travelling on these boats. Local residents claimed that boats operating in more than 50 ghats in Kendrapara district are violating guidelines.

“The boats operate without life-jackets and are mostly overloaded with people,” said local resident, Sukanta Giri.

Another local resident, Promod Behera alleged that government authorities continue to show apathy towards the plight of 3-4 lakh people who depend on these boats for their daily travel.

The government had announced new norms following the recent boat tragedies in Hirakud and Chilka Lake.

Mandadhar Mahalik, BDO, Rajnagar, claimed that spot visits are being conducted and boat owners have now purchased life-jackets.

He said that officials in the region conduct surprise visits to ensure compliance with new norms. “I will make visits and take action if needed,” he added.