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Country boats must have safety briefing audio systems, Minister informs House

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 28 - From now on, operators of country boats in Assam must install safety briefing audio systems in their vessels to give statutory safety briefing to passengers about movement on board, emergency procedures, location of emergency exits, stowage and use of personnel protective equipment such as life jackets and other life-saving or support devices or appliances.

This has been stated by the State transport department in the recently published guidelines for operation of country boats in the State, said Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary in a written reply during the Assembly session today.

According to the guidelines, every such vessel shall have IRS-approved life saving equipment and life jackets as per certificates issued by the registration authority, along with first aid box stocked with essential medicines, emergency first aid equipment and medication.

Again, every vessel should have at least one multipurpose portable fire extinguisher with recognised standard. Vessels operating at night must be equipped with navigational lights and sidelights along with sound signalling equipment, emergency communication equipment, global positioning system, etc.

The guidelines pointed out that only inland water transport vessels certified as passenger vessels in their registration certificate shall carry passengers. Employees of a vessel should hold valid competency certificates and conformity certificates issued by the competent authority.

According to the guidelines, in case of adverse weather conditions, the country boat can carry only two-thirds of its passenger carrying capacity. In such weather conditions, it is also advisable to stop plying the vessel and issue warning by the best available means, the guidelines said.

Referring to the need for anchoring equipment, the guidelines stated that a vessel should be equipped with anchors, cables and ropes to prevent drifting of vessels during calm weather in general and cyclonic conditions in particular.

The guidelines said that the master of any inland vessel or ferry boat may refuse to admit any person as a passenger if the person is insane or suffering from an infectious or contagious disease, or is under the influence of liquor, drugs, etc.

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