After the boat incident happened at Nimatighat in the Brahmaputra river, a review meeting was held at the conference room of the CM Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. As part of the Standard Operating Procedure, a series of safety measures were discussed for plying vessels between Nimatighat and Majuli and other places in the state.
What the new SOP says
According to the new SOP, the use of private vessels with single-engine, except those with marine engines with reversible gear will remain restricted. Six government vessels including two RoPax shall remain in operation between Majuli and Jorhat.
Smooth ferry services even in lean season
One dredger will maintain the channel for smooth ferry services even in the lean season. All 19 private passenger vessels travelling from Majuli to Jorhat will be fitted with marine engines with reversible gear with the money of the government within six months. All passengers will have to wear life jackets before their departures.
DIWTA in consultation with the DC
“DIWTA in consultation with the DC (deputy commissioner) concerned will assess the requirement for more than one ramp temporary jetties at each Ghat and arrange to construct accordingly,” it said.
The statement revealed that the DCs, DIWTA, and all the other senior officers will be visiting and observe all the arrangements made at the ghats to assure that the ferry service is going well.
Names and contact details to be recorded in register
Tickets will be provided to all the passengers and their names and contact details will be recorded in a register. At each ghat of Majuli and Jorhat, a minimum of two temporary jetties will be maintained for docking and mooring of boats. One life-buoy ring was made mandatory against four passengers and the life-buoys are important on the guard rails for immediate throwing towards people in the water.
One Magistrate in Majuli and one in Jorhat will be present during departure and arrival of the ferries, and the magistrate is supposed to submit the daily report to the DC, the statement added.
Safety audits will be carried out for vessels
Safety audits will be carried out for vessels by competent IWT officials before being put to use and the vessels must be inspected for their overall fitness, availability of firefighting and lifesaving equipment, the competence of crew members, etc. A reliable communication network should be maintained between the master and in charge of the ghat and they should regularly remain in contact over the phone.
About the meeting
The meeting also decided that one SDRF team will be stationed at Majuli and it will be kept in readiness to respond to any emergency. Training of all the masters and crew has to be undertaken on basic navigation stability, related rules in the firefighting, emergency operation, water, Master (In-charge of the Boat) of passenger ferry will not be changed without prior approval of competent authority of the IWT.
Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Samir Kumar Sinha, Principal Secretary, Transport, KK Dwivedi, Commissioner, Transport, Adil Khan, and all the senior officers of the Transport Department were attending the meeting, the statement added.