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Govt yet to act against overcrowding ferries

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, June 22 � People and boat owners are throwing caution to the wind by disregarding vital police warning at Fancy Bazar ferry ghat.

Even as the Brahmaputra�s water level is rising, overcrowding on small boats � and many a times old ones � is the norm, and passengers and vehicles occupying the rooftops is a common sight. This potentially dangerous practice takes place at a place very close to the Fancy Bazar Police Station. The Office of the Superintendent of Police is also situated not very far away.

Many commuters, who rely on boat services between Guwahati and North Guwahati, realize the dangers they face during the crossing.

Nripen Das, a businessman who regularly travels by bhut-bhutis, finds it troubling that the authorities concerned have done little to stop overloading on the fragile vessels even after the recent boat mishap near Dhubri that killed dozens.

He pointed out that basic safety equipment like adequate number of life jackets is missing from most boats carrying 50 or more people. �Has things changed after the Dhubri tragedy? Certainly not near Guwahati�� he remarked.

Others who are compelled to take the modest sized handmade crafts have complaints which have not been addressed so far. Many of the vessels which ply with cargo, passengers, cycles, and motor bikes even during the monsoon periods are of old origin and need repairs. Their worthiness amid the rapid currents of the Brahmaputra is a matter of genuine concern.

Although some may find the idea alien, the smaller boats which carry precious human lives have no direct line of communication with any rescue service that can be contacted in case of a contingency. Boat captains have mobile phones, but they do not know whom to call for help if things turn ugly and lives are at stake.

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Govt yet to act against overcrowding ferries

GUWAHATI, June 22 � People and boat owners are throwing caution to the wind by disregarding vital police warning at Fancy Bazar ferry ghat.

Even as the Brahmaputra�s water level is rising, overcrowding on small boats � and many a times old ones � is the norm, and passengers and vehicles occupying the rooftops is a common sight. This potentially dangerous practice takes place at a place very close to the Fancy Bazar Police Station. The Office of the Superintendent of Police is also situated not very far away.

Many commuters, who rely on boat services between Guwahati and North Guwahati, realize the dangers they face during the crossing.

Nripen Das, a businessman who regularly travels by bhut-bhutis, finds it troubling that the authorities concerned have done little to stop overloading on the fragile vessels even after the recent boat mishap near Dhubri that killed dozens.

He pointed out that basic safety equipment like adequate number of life jackets is missing from most boats carrying 50 or more people. �Has things changed after the Dhubri tragedy? Certainly not near Guwahati�� he remarked.

Others who are compelled to take the modest sized handmade crafts have complaints which have not been addressed so far. Many of the vessels which ply with cargo, passengers, cycles, and motor bikes even during the monsoon periods are of old origin and need repairs. Their worthiness amid the rapid currents of the Brahmaputra is a matter of genuine concern.

Although some may find the idea alien, the smaller boats which carry precious human lives have no direct line of communication with any rescue service that can be contacted in case of a contingency. Boat captains have mobile phones, but they do not know whom to call for help if things turn ugly and lives are at stake.