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Varanasi boatmen to get back to business

In a major reprieve to thousands of boatmen here, the Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) has started afresh the process of registration of boats in all categories.

Updated Jun 18, 2020 08:33 AM

Varanasi boatmen to get back to business

In the initial phase, the VMC will collect basic data from the boatmen and permit them to restart boat operations in Ganga river. Boating had been banned during the lockdown in March and boatmen have been pleading with authorities to allow them to restart their work.

The process of their registration with the prescribed fee for boats in different categories will be started after monsoon.

It has also been decided to relocate the tortoise sanctuary from Varanasi to a stretch between Mirzapur and Prayagraj.

Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, "Under smart city project, the VMC has activated a portal for collecting basic data of the boatmen like their name, other personal detail, size and capacity of boat, its operation mode including manual or diesel motor operated and Ghats where their boats are anchored."

The basic registration process for this date collection will also be done manually at the VMC's zonal offices.

After completing these formalities, the boatmen will get an acknowledgement letter after which they will be allowed to start their boat operation in the Ganga this week.

He said that the final registration process of boats with deposition of prescribed fee will be started after monsoon.

The VMC and local administration has also kept in view, the financial problems of boatmen, which increased during lockdown due to ban on boat operation and collapsing of tourism trade.

Thus, it has been decided to start final registration after financial condition of boatmen begins to normalize.

Meanwhile, the Divisional Forest Officer of the Kashi Wildlife Division, Mahavir Kaujalgi, said that the order has been given for the relocation of the tortoise sanctuary from Kashi's river front to 30-km area away in the stretch between Mirzapur and Prayagraj as it was found fit for being the habitat of the turtles.

The official said that due to existence of tortoise sanctuary, the registration process, especially of the diesel motor operated boats, was not being done by the VMC.

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