GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - The Inland Water Transport Department will soon operate three modern vessels on the Brahmaputra in the city and another one in Majuli.
The trial run of a 28-metre-long steel catamaran was launched today on the river Brahmaputra from Guwahati to North Guwahati. �The trial run with passengers would continue for some time. We plan to formally launch it later this month,� IWTD Director BB Dev Choudhury told The Assam Tribune.
Meanwhile, a Ro-Ro vessel, which is to be placed at Majuli, has arrived. It is being named MV Bhupen Hazarika.
The catamaran, built at a cost of Rs 186 lakh, has a capacity of 150 passengers, four LMVs and 80 motorcycles.
Construction of two 30-metre-long steel vessels are also nearing completion. They will have a capacity of 100 passengers, two loaded trucks, 2 LMVs and 30 motorcycles. Each is being built at a cost of Rs 190 lakh. One of the vessel is expected to be ready by this month and the other by November.
Another refurbished vessel will be deployed between Umananda and Uzanbazar this month.
The private mechanized services (bhut-bhutis) on the Brahmaputra were suspended after the mishap on September 5 in which four passengers had died, after the vessel�s engine stopped functioning and hit piers constructed for the water supply project.
Sources indicated that if the bhutbhutis do not follow the safety norms as per the new law enacted by the State Assembly on inland water transport, they would not be allowed to operate.
Around 25,000 to 30,000 people ply on the Brahmaputra river route in the city daily.
The number of private vessels was around 150, while the IWTD operates around 17 vessels currently.