The inter-state water transport in Chandbali appears to no longer be the Odisha government's concern. In Chandbali, operation of four passenger launches has been suspended indefinitely since October 17. The boats are lying at Dhamra Jetti and Chandbali Jetti.
The main reason for suspension of the operation is said to be non-allocation of funds for buying fuel. The Chandbali Port and Inland Water Transport wing of state transport department, as it is being widely discussed in various circles, cannot afford to buy oil for motor boats as there is no budget allocation for the year 2020-21.
“Now that the water transport service has been shut down indefinitely, the general public is suffering immensely,” the passengers complained.
In fact, two passenger launches and goods launch ferry passengers and transport goods. In addition, two other launches are available for emergencies and tourists.
Though the state government earns good annual revenue from water transportation here, the department has been operating at a loss since 2010.
However, due to the lack of budget in the concerned departments, the department has now been forced to shut down the service.
“We travel between Talchua to Dhamra via water route everyday for our marketing and other requirements. Now that the launches have stopped, our normal life has been completely disrupted,” says Sanjukta Maiti of Talchua.
Jagannath Sahu, another resident of Talchua, said people on the both sides – Talchua and Chandbali – have got completely disconnected and their economic activity has come to a grinding halt.
“Hundreds of waterway passengers depend on motor launches for various services, including emergency services. Unless motor launches are allowed to restart their operation, people will be left in the lurch,” said Jagannath.
Niranjan Karan, a regular waterway passenger, urged the government to look into the problems and restore the waterway transport as early as possible.