28-year-old Lakeswar Rajbongshi, who has been associated with ferry service at Bogibeel ghat for last several years, has no idea what to do next.
After the opening of Bogibeel bridge, which will connect the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra in the Eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, their business will be completely shattered.
“We don’t know what to do because from many years we are associated with the business. We don’t expect that government will do anything for us because till date government has done nothing for the people associate with ferry service at Dhola-Sadiya,” Rajbongshi told Northeast Now.
To cross the river in ferry it takes two hours and after opening of the Bogibeel bridge it will take 10 to 15 minutes to reach the Dhemaji from Dibrugarh side.
Sapna Pegu, a eatery owner at Bogibeel ghat said, “We are doing a brisk business at Bogibeel ghat because people who travels in ferry comes to our eatery for food but after opening of the Bogibeel bridge our business will be completely shattered because nobody will cross the river through ferry. We don’t know what to do or how we will run our family.”
Daily 19 private and one government ferry run from Bogibeel ghat in Dibrugarh to Kareng Bali ghat in Dhemaji district.
It is not only the boatmen who are worried. There are at least 50 to 60 shops, kiosks, eateries and makeshift restaurants at the two ghats. Their businesses will also be hit after the opening of the bridge.
Moreover every day, 70 to 100 jeeps, trekkers, mini buses and tempos use to carry passengers from the town to the ferry ghats and vice-versa. And most of these operators are at a loss how to deal with the situation.
“We are doing business over here for last 18 years but now we are worried about our future. Our livelihood depends on ferry but now we don’t know what will happen,” Ram Krishna Prasad, a boatman, said.
“We are happy that after 17 long years the Bogibeel bridge will be inaugurated. Government should do something for our rehabilitation as well because the livelihood of many people is associated with it. After the opening of the bridge we will be rendered jobless,” he said.