Anandapur: Boat service at Anandapur ghat in Keonjhar district faces the threat of closure. This will affect thousands of people depending on the boatride to ferry across river Baitarani.
The Anandapur municipality which handles the ghat operation had floated tenders to lease out the ghat for 2019-20, but there were no takers for the ghat this year.
The bidding price for the ghat has been put at Rs 3.68 lakh.
For the past six months, the ghat has been lying inoperative.
The ferry service at the ghat connects bus terminals at Khaparakhai with Fakirmohan Bustand on the other side of river Baitarani.
The ferry service helps people cross over to the bus stand on the other side of the river.
Government establishments like Ananadapur sub-divsional hospital, sub-collector’s office, sub-judge court and municipal office are on the other side of Baitarani.
Locals say the ferry link is crucial for the townsfolk. After the closure of the ghat, students are the most affected lot. They usually take boat rides every day to reach Balabhadranarayan High School and Government Girls’ High School.
“Although regularization of the ghat is crucial for local commuters, the civic body has failed to fix a contractor for the ghat this year. People dependent on the ferry service are inconvenienced. It is very unfortunate,” lamented the locals.
The commuters have said that boat service used to lighten the burden of communication on the Baitarani bridge near the sub-jail and the Baitarani barrage.
Some lease holders said the bidding price is quite high while profit is falling.
“There is a need to reduce the bidding price so that people can auction it easily,” suggested a few commuters.
Executive office of the municipality, Sitansu Sekhar Samal said the official guideline has a provision to auction the ghat at the price fixed at previous bidding price or more than 10 per cent of the bidding price.
It is not possible to auction the ghat at the price offered by the bidders, he added.