CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the State Government to file an affidavit indicating steps taken for implementation of provisions of Orissa Boat Rules, 2004 to ensure public safety during boat journeys and preventing mishaps.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice P Mohanty and Justice B Mohanty has asked the Government to file the affidavit within a week.
The directives came in response to a PIL filed by rights activist Prabir Kumar Das alleging that Government apathy towards enforcing Orissa Boat Rules, 2004, has led to increasing mishaps and loss of lives in the State.
Drawing the court’s attention to the boat capsize incident in Jalaput reservoir in Koraput district on May 24 this year which claimed six lives, the petitioner prayed for a RDC-level probe to ascertain lapses by the administration that led to frequent boat mishaps in the backward region.
He alleged that in absence of adequate road connectivity and bridges, waterway is the only mode of communication for villagers of Borigumma, Boipariguda, Kundra, Kotpad, Nandapur and Lamatapat blocks of Koraput district. Powerboats are available at only 23 of 99 ferry points while country boats are in dilapidated condition due to lack of maintenance. Without any alternative, villagers are forced to risk their lives by commuting by unsafe ferry boats.