BERHAMPUR: A day after the arrest of boatman Dutia Mallick alias Bideshi, police took helper Bishnu into custody. As Bishnu is a minor, he will be produced in Juvenile Court on Wednesday, said Rambha police station IIC Prasant Das. The owner, Hatia Mallick, is still absconding, the IIC said. Four persons had died in a tragic boat mishap in Chilika Lake on Saturday.
The arrests, however, have led to resentment among the fishermen. Chilika Mastsyajibi Mahasangh convenor Balaram Das and vice-president Bhimsen Behera said though Bideshi repeatedly declined to ferry 29 passengers as it was beyond the boat’s capacity, the picnickers did not listen to him. Despite his caution, Bideshi was arrested, Das said.
They said a meeting of fishermen would be held on Wednesday to decide on their future course of action.
Sabulia village, to which Bidehsi belongs, is inhabited by over 500 families who own 250 boats. The boats are exclusively meant for fishing and licence has been obtained.
According to Bramhananda Behera of Chamanda street in Sabulia village, no assistance has been given to fishermen. Citing instances, he said though they got licence for fishing in Chilika, no Government official thought of providing them with life jacket or fibre boat.
During 2013 Phailin, the fishermen sustained severe loss, but no assistance was given to them, alleged Narasingha Behera of the village.
Meanwhile, a team of Fisheries’ officers, led by Khetrabasi Behera and Tribeni Patra, visited Sabulia and interacted with the locals besides collecting information on the number of boats operating in the lake. They verified the licence given for boats operating in Chilika.
The State Government has asked the Directorate of Ports and Inland Water Transport to submit report on the Chilika boat tragedy.