Kendrapara, June 28 (LocalWire): Social distancing and heath safety guidelines are not being maintained by most of the ferry ghats in the riverside villages by the people and the boatmen.
While some passengers were seen wearing masks, most were not.
Officials, however, have not taken any action against boatmen who are ferrying people across the rivers, for which, villagers are scared of the outbreak of COVID-19, said Mahadev Mandal of the riverside village Pitapatha.
The river ghat at Bahakuda village near the river Mahanadi under Mahakalapada block in the district is abuzz with passengers on their way to the Paradip port.
However, social distancing is not maintained by these people and the boatmen too, allow the people to sit close to each other.
“Each passenger pays me Rs 10 to cross the one-kilometer long river Mahanadi. If I carry a lesser number of passengers, I will not earn enough money.
Last month, I asked my passengers to pay me Rs 20 so that I would be able carry fewer passengers to maintain social distancing but passengers refused to pay the double fare.
As a result, I have to carry more passengers ignoring social distancing norms,” said Madhu Behera, a boatman.
“The district administration has directed all boat owners and boatmen to strictly abide by the social distancing norms.
Legal action will be taken against violators under the provisions of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
Two months ago, the Odisha government promulgated an ordinance for those who violate the epidemic regulations by amending section- 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
As per the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, anybody who disobeys any regulation or order made under the Act is liable for imprisonment up to two years or with a fine up to Rs 10,000 or both,” said Basant Kumar Rout the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) of Kendrapara.