Bogibeel ferry ghat in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district which was bustling with activity till the other day is now lying deserted after the inauguration of the country’s longest rail cum road Bogibeel Bridge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25 last.
Bogibeel ferry ghat which has been functioning since 2004 was shut down after long 14 years. The people associated with Bogibeel Ghat have been rendered jobless after the complete shutdown of the ghat. Bogibeel ghat is 26 km from Dibrugarh town.
Nearly, 180 people associated with ferry services in both ghats were affected after the closing down of the Bogibeel ghat.
There are at least 50 to 60 shops, kiosks, eateries and makeshift restaurants at the two ghats which were also affected.
Shankar Sahani (40), a boatmen said, “Me and my elder brother (Sivji) have been working at Bogibeel ferry ghat from its inception and we are solely dependent on ferry service, but after the complete shutdown of the Bogibeel ghat we don’t know what to do. We have to search job for our livelihood.”
He said that both of them came to Dibrugarh from Dhola in Tinsukia district in search of job and at last involved themselves in ferry service and from then on both the siblings were working at the same boat owned by one Mukhi Chetri.
“Near about 3,000 people crossed from Bogibeel ghat to Kareng ghat everyday but now it looks totally different. Earlier, the ghat which used to bustle with activities now wears a deserted look almost resembling a ghost town,” said Subon Namasudhra, a boatmen at Bogibeel ghat.
Motindra Biswa Sarma, an employee of the Inland Water Transport Department said, “Bogibeel ghat was completely shut down after the opening of the bridge. Two government ferries used to run from Bogibeel ghat to Kareng ghat, but now they are lying abandoned at Bogibeel ghat. We have sent letter to Director of Inland Water Transport at Guwhati about the abandoned government ferries.”
He said that 28 private ferries run from both the ghats, but some of the ferry owners have sold their boats. Earlier, it took between 90 minutes to two hours to cross the river but now after the opening of the bridge, it takes hardly 15 minutes to cross the bridge.