JEYPORE: A Boat, procured by the Tourism department, has been gathering dust for the last one year with the State Government denying permission to boating in the Upper Kolab reservoir on safety grounds.
Boating was popular among tourists visiting the scenic Upper Kolab reservoir and locals offered the service to them at a price. Tourists used to enter the reservoir through different ghats where 10 to 15 boats and ferries were anchored.
Considering the demand for boating in the reservoir, Tourism department procured a luxurious motor boat at a cost of `10 lakh three years back. Locals also used the motor boat at times to reach neighbouring villages.However, for over a year, the boat has been lying unused at Paraja Pandi ghat under Lanakaput panchayat.
The State Government decided not to give licence to anyone to operate boats in the reservoir following a boat mishap last year. At least six persons had drowned when a country boat, carrying 18 tourists from Kalijai temple, capsized in Chilika lake near Balugan in Khurda district on June 16 last year.
To cash in on the situation, villagers have started providing boating service to tourists by illegally plying country boats. District tourism officials said that the boat stopped operating in the reservoir after the Chilika boat tragedy last year as the Government did not renew its licence.