The launch carries 150 people against its capacity

of 100

There seems to be no end to the woes of people living in several villages on either side of the backwater of the Sharavathy in Sagar taluk of Shimoga district.

Their dependence on the only launch to cross the backwater every day has made things very difficult for them.

The uncertainty over the construction of a bridge across the Sharavathy has brought disappointment to them.

There is only one launch maintained by the Department of Ports. It makes nearly 12 trips daily.

The problem of the daily commuters has become pronounced with the steady rise in the number of devotees to the temple of Siganduru.

The launch carries nearly 150 people against its capacity of 100. The demand for one launch seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

When the Government floated tenders for fabricating a new launch, a Gujarat-based agency won the bid. It agreed to the condition that it would weld and assemble the parts at the spot. But the delay is causing problems to people.

As there is no launch service after 6 p.m., people find it difficult to cross the backwater in an emergency.

The decision of the taluk administration to ban the carrying of private vehicles by the launch has caused inconvenience to tourists as they have to park them at Holebagilu.

Construction of the 1 km-long bridge across the Sharavathy backwater has been suggested as a permanent solution to the problems of the people of the area. But it has not been considered seriously by the Government.

It is said that the bridge will not only provide a permanent solution to the problems of the local people — a majority of them being displaced by the Sharavathy hydel project — but also provide a shorter route between Sagar and Hosnagar taluks. The other demands of the local people include introduction of two more launches, making them operate from the Kalasavalli bank and the Ambaragodlu bank to ease the pressure on the existing launch and offering the service free.

Pramod Mellegatti in Shimoga