KalingaTV News Network
Malkangiri: Boat services to cut-off areas across the Balimela reservoir in the district was affected as the employees of State government run motor boat services staged demonstration on Monday.
As many as 10 employees of the boat services staged cease-work protest to press their demand for regularisation of their job.
The SDO, JE and local police reached the Helli Pahad Launch Ghatt at Chitrakonda this morning and urged the agitating employees to withdraw their strike assuring to fulfil their demands at the earliest. However, the employees demanded a written assurance from the District Collector in this regard.
“During our last agitation in September 2017, the SDO and Executive Engineer had assured us to fulfill our demands at the earliest, but to no avail,” said Prasanna Majhi an agitating employee.
Over 20,000 villagers of 151 villages of the cut-off area have been affected owing to the protest. Today, large no people were seen at the Launch Ghatt waiting to travel to their villages.
Since there is no alternative to go their villages, people have no other option but to wait at the Launch Ghatt till the issue is resolved, sources said.
Notably, several villages in the region drowned and 151 villages were cut-off from the mainland after the commencement of Balimela Hydroelectricity Project in 1960s.
In 1970, the State government provided motor boat services establishing access to these villages.
Motorboats ferry villagers along 68 km water path during daytime. Currently, 8 boats have been engaged for the government run motor boat services , but only four are in running condition, informed a boat employee.