|Ferry service operators urged to abide by safety norms|
JORHAT, June 16 - The Deputy Commissioner of Majuli, Debaprasad Misra has warned the vessel owners operating under the IWT between Majuli, Jorhat and Lakhimpur districts of initiating stern action against any employee of boat owners, or owners themselves, if found to be violating any safety measures under the departmental rules.
Chairing a meeting with Inland Water Transport department officials at his office chamber at Garamur on Saturday regarding compliance of safety measures by the boat operators and various other anomalies prevailing in the water transport mode, Misra warned of filing FIRs at police stations against any errant person associated with ferry service found to be violating rules. A district administration source informed that the DC also cautioned IWT officials and employees of taking strong departmental disciplinary action as per rules if any lapses regarding safety aspects on their part were detected.
Misra said that boats found to be violating Government rules framed for managing the waterway service will be immediately barred from operating in their respective routes.
The source further stated that the Deputy Commissioner directed the IWT officials to ensure that all vessels display the passenger capacity in a visible manner for the benefit of public safety. He further directed to strictly see that tickets to passengers were issued at the counters at the ghats and prohibited giving tickets on the boat, the source informed.
Misra asked the IWT officials to carry out bamboo barricading at the ticket counters at the ghats for queuing and said there were frequent complaints received by the administration regarding issuing of tickets on the vessels instead of the counters.
He said any IWT employee or official found conniving with the boat operators and violating the Government rules will be taken to task sternly.
In the meanwhile, Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni A Korati on Saturday issued certain directions to the IWT regarding operating of vessels between Jorhat and Majuli.
A Jorhat district administration source told this newspaper that Korati, while chairing a meeting of District Disaster Management Authority at the Conference Hall of the DC’s office, gave a direction to the IWT department to examine fitness certificates of the boats.
The source said that the Deputy Commissioner asked the IWT to depute sufficient number of employees under an assistant engineer at Nimatighat ferry ghat for Jorhat-Majuli waterway route in order to ensure smooth operation of the waterway service between Jorhat and Majuli.
The source stated that Korati gave the directions after Jorhat Additional Deputy Commissioner Jayanta Goswami, who is the Executive Officer of the DDMA, pointed out in the meeting that employees of Inland Water Transport department posted at Nimatighat were found to be absent regularly from duty.
Goswami further brought to the notice of Korati that vessels moving to and fro from Nimatighat to several ghats of Majuli island were found to be overloading passengers, thereby ignoring safety rules of the IWT and putting lives of the passengers at risk.
The source stated that the Jorhat Deputy Commissioner also took stock of the damages caused to public and private property like houses, roads, bridges and schools by storm and floods in recent times in Jorhat district.
Officials of Assam Power Distribution Company Limited, Irrigation, Public Works Department, Public Health Engineering and Forest departments submitted reports to the Deputy Commissioner on the extent of damages caused due to natural calamities, the source said. The officials also submitted proposals for providing rehabilitation to those affected by the natural calamities in order to be sent to the Government for sanctioning funds under the SDRF head.
The meeting approved a list of 3022 houses across the district - under five revenue Circles - that needed to be repaired due to damages caused by storm for submission to the Government, the source said.
Jorhat Additional Deputy Commissioner Tapan Gohain, Sub-divisional Officer (Sadar) Bipul Kumar Das were among the senior district administration officials who attended the meeting, the source concluded.