NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Aug 12 - Social activists have criticised the Inland Water Transport Department for its non-existent services over the Subansiri river in Lakhimpur district. The president of Subansiri Suraksha Sangram Samiti � a non-government organisation � Nirmal Payeng, also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.
The complainant stated that the department�s ferry service in Subansiri at Ghagar Ghat in North Lakhimpur is not being run by its own staff, rather the service has been operated by private parties for a long time.
The concerned officials and staff of the department at Ghagar Ghat have been absent from their duties and drawing salaries and other official benefits of their jobs from the government by staying at home, the memorandum alleged.
In the absence of the Inland Water Transport Department staff, the private players have been collecting higher rates from passengers that cross the river daily, Payeng said. There is no departmental signboard on the ferry ghat indicating the rates of the fare. A passenger is forced to pay Rs 10 for each journey instead of the usual Rs 4.
Similarly, the passengers who carry two-wheelers with them while crossing the river on ferry have to pay Rs 20 instead of Rs 7.
The Ghagar ferry ghat, which is the lifeline for the people of Ghunasuti, has become a misery for the daily commuters, Payeng said in the memorandum.
It also asked the Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner to set up a probe against these irregularities and non-existence of the Inland Water Transport Department at Ghagar Ghat.