BHADRAK: Kailash Maharana, a carpenter of Chandbali village here, is a worried man today. His income has been at an all-time low and to his misfortune, he has not received any order for making new boats this year.
As many as 350 carpenters share Kailash’s plight. For livelihood, these people are finding it difficult to stick to their traditional business with demand for boats coming down.
Considering the topography of Chandbali, boats are an integral part of communication in this part of the district. Chandbali is surrounded by the river Baitarani in the south, Salandi in the west and Bay of Bengal in the east. Hence, transportation through country boats is a lucrative business for people.
Sources said 1,000 country boats used to ply till a decade back. The number is half now. “Country boats were most sought after by fishermen as metal or tin boats were damaged by saline water,” said Dayanidhi Majhi, a fisherman of Chandbali. However, the demand for these wooden country boats came down drastically after the mechanised ones were introduced. Adding to the carpenters’ woes was the scarcity and rising prices of wood. “Not many people these days prefer country boats which is why their demand has come down. Besides, getting wood for construction is getting increasingly difficult,” said Raju Jena, a carpenter. Another carpenter Gobinda Maharana said he hardly manages to make just Rs 4,000 a month which does not suffice to maintain his six-member family.
Meanwhile, carpenters of the village have sought the government help in providing them subsidised wood.