Kendrapara, Dec 2 (LocalWire): As many as seven luxury, tourist boats worth crores, are reportedly gathering dust for at least four months at Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district.
Even during the peak tourist season in winter, the boats are now floating unused at the creek of Bhitarkanika at Gupti.
“These eco-friendly, luxury boats have not been used since August, showing the lack of seriousness by authorities to promote tourism at Bhitarkanika,” said Bhitarkanika tour operator Naresh Das.
When contacted, park’s Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bimal Prasan Acharya said: “In 2014, we procured seven luxury boats from Goa under Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project for tourists . Each boat has capacity to carry 20 tourists.”
Besides comfort, the eco-friendly, soundless, fiber, luxury vessels are equipped with foolproof safety mechanism.
The luxury boats were built to ensure that tourists are safe during their visit to water bodies amid the mangrove forest, which is the home to around 1700 salt water crocodiles.
“As we could not find boatmen and crew who are trained to float these vessels, we outsourced them from Kerala. The boats were running smoothly till four months back. We told the officials of the Samudra Shipyards Private Limited to restart the boat service soon,” he added.
Dedaduta Swain, Supervisor of Samudra Shipyards Private Limited at Gupti, said: “Some of the crew members and other employees have gone to Kerala to rebuild their houses destroyed in the devastating flood in August. So the boat service has temporally been halted the boat service.”
“We will soon restart the boat service,” he said.
Pertinently, tourists have to pay Rs. 8,000 to travel in these luxury boats for a six-hour tour of Bhitarkanika.