Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 22:
Members cutting across party lines expressed concern over the condition of water transport, illegal boating and frequent accidents and loss of life in the state in the Odisha assembly on Saturday.
Pointing out that 74 people have lost their lives in the state in past two years due to accidents in water transport, BJD MLA Prafulla Samal asked “How many boats were registered by 2004 and if accidents happened after registration, What steps has the government taken to curb such mishaps? Given the geography, the people of Chandbali area need boats to commute. Will the minister make a special plan to encourage water transport in the area?”
“There are a lot of fishermen around Rajnagar area. As has been reported quite often in the media, fishermen get into the restricted turtle breeding zones while fishing and end up getting into brawls with forest officers. On some occasions, they have been shot at and even died. Does the minister have any data on this count? What steps has the government taken to avoid these illegal intruders,” questioned Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty.
“The government had appointed an organization to survey the feasibility of water based transport in the state. The organisation has identified five waterways in the state fit for transport. They are Balasore to Chandipur 12 kilometres on Budha Balanga river, Rajnagar to Aul – 14 kilometres on Kharsuan river, Aul to Ayatpur – 24 kilometres on Kharsuan river and Kani river, Singhapur to Aul – 25 kilometres on Kharsuan river and Balabhadrapur to Nuagarh -9 kilometres on Daya. The government has registered 1122 boats and 1090 boats are awaiting registration,” said Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi.