Berhampur, May 8 (LocalWire): The restriction to ply boats inside Chilika was lifted by the government on Monday but very few are operating in the lagoon.
Boats were asked not to sail from 2-5 May by the respective district administrations of Ganjam, Khurda and Puri in view of the impending cyclone Fani.
Kalijai, Chadheihaga, Barkul in Ganjam district escaped the fury of Fani but very few visitors preferred to visit the lake after the extremely severe cyclonic storm hit the coast of Odisha, said Joginath Behera, secretary, Maa Kalijai Motorboat Workers’ Association.
Behera said only three boats carrying around 30 passengers have gone to Kalijai from Barkul jetty till today.
On normal days, the boatmen ferry over 120 passengers everyday from Barkul jetty to different sites near Nalabana, the bird sanctuary, Kalijai temple, Dolphin site near Satapada, eco-tourism site at Mangalajodi.
As many as 206 motorboats of the state-owned Odisha Tourism Development
Corporation operate from Barkul every day.
‘Due to bad weather condition, we have not operated the boats from 1 May. But now we are sitting idle because even though the situation is slowly turning normal, passengers are not coming,’ said Behera.
Spread over 1100 sqkms, the picturesque lake remained unaffected in Ganjam district side and Nalabana, the bird sanctuary area and eco-tourism site Mangalajaodi,’ said DFO, Chilika Wildlife Division, Bikash Ranjan Das.
The DFO said the lake bore brunt of Fani in Satapada side, when it made landfall in Puri on last Friday. The nature park, casuarina plantation and the forest rest house near Satapada were destroyed. Two other eco-tourism projects, including Rajhans and Berhampura were also damaged, he said.
‘We have visited Nalabana where over 10,000 migratory and residential birds were seen in the lake.
Some of the migratory birds which had flown to take shelter in the lake during winter season remained in Chilika still,’ Das said.