Puri, Feb 11:
In the aftermath of the tragic boat mishap in Hirakud reservoir on Sunday in which 31 people were killed, the Puri district administration has stopped vessel services in Chilika lake from Monday noon.
The vessel service in the lake was run on behalf of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) from Satapada Ghat to Janhikuda Ghat of the lake covering a distance of five km.
While more than 150 people from Puri and Brahmagiri were availing the vessel services to go to the other side of the lake, a number of tourist buses, four-wheelers and motor bikes also depended on them to cross the lake.
However, the vessel service has been beset with problems due to poor maintenance.
A vessel carrying chief minister Naveen Patnaik got stuck in the middle of the lake during his tour to the area in January this year. As a result, about 150 people, including policemen, were stranded on board the boat in the lake throughout the night.
The district administration, however, is unwilling to attribute the decision to the boat mishap in Hirakud and is giving an altogether different spin to it. It has maintained that ferrying passengers and vehicles in the vessel had become difficult as the jetty at Satapada now remains above the deck of the vessel due to a fall in the water level in the lake.
As per available information, a nullah has been dug out from Satapada Ghat to Janhikuda Ghat inside the lake for ferrying passengers.
However, as against the required water level of 16 feet, the water level in the nullah at present has now remained at 12/13 feet. Due to fall in the water level, there are instances where the vessel has got stuck to the sand pit in the lake.
Considering the above, the administration has decided to stop the vessel service in the lake, a senior district official said.
However, sources said that the district administration is keen to play safe to avert any disaster of the kind that took place in Hirakud