UP: In Prayagraj, distressed boatmen fight for survival amid lockdown | Allahabad News

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Usually, around 1,500 boats are permitted to ply on Sangam and at least two boatmen work on a single boat.

PRAYAGRAJ: Even as religious places reopen across the city, around 3000 boatmen, who earn their livelihood by catering to the pilgrims at Sangam, continue to fight for their survival.
The Navik Sangh District Allahabad, a body of boatmen has also appealed to district authorities to permit the boats to ply at the earliest.
President of Navik Sangh, Pappu Lal Nishad, told TOI that majority of the boatmen are left with no money to even arrange for two square meals a day. “Boatmen at Sangam solely rely on rowing boats to earn their bread and butter. Due to the lockdown, they are not only debt ridden but also on the verge of starvation.”
Usually, around 1,500 boats are permitted to ply on Sangam and at least two boatmen work on a single boat.
“We have already submitted a memorandum to district authorities appealing them to permit the plying of boats with the assurance that all the boatmen would follow social distancing norms and no pilgrim would be allowed to board the boat without mask,” said Nishad, adding “We have also planned that only five people would be permitted on a boat at a time.
Rajan, a boatman, said, “Devotees have started flocking to the Sangam campus to take holy dips since June 1 but we are not able to cater to them. The ban on boating should be immediately lifted.”
Another boatman, Pawan, said “We had approached the administration, police officials and Jal Police authorities to permit boating from 6 am to 5 pm but to no avail.”
“Boating is our only source of income and we can’t afford to sit idle for more days now,” he added.
On being contacted, IG (Prayagraj range) KP Singh, meanwhile, said he would discuss the matter with district authorities and take action accordingly.”



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