GOLAKGANJ, July 17 � The boat accident in the Brahmaputra river at Medertari, which took 47 lives on April 30 with many more still reported missing, was one of the worst such accidents in India. The engine boat was allegedly carrying more passengers than its capacity and running without a renewed licence.
Surprisingly, even after three months, nobody responsible for the accident has been punished so far. No compensation announced by the Government has been forwarded to the family members of the deceased either. To a question from Monowar Hussain, AIUDF MLA, Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain had replied that those responsible for the accident had already been identified and their statements had been recorded on paper.
The Forest Minister added that a sum of Rs 1.50 lakh has been sanctioned to the kin of the 47 passengers who lost their lives. After the ferry accident, GK Bhasan, Central Water Resources Minister, visited the spot and assured that Rs 2 lakh would be paid to the family members of the deceased by the Central Government.Thus, the family members of the deceased are supposed to get Rs 3.5 lakh but till date no compensation has been paid.
The local residents have complained that the Dhubri administration has not even communicated with the family members of the deceased. The Forest Minister also announced an amount of Rs 1 crore under the NREGA scheme for the repair of damaged roads and bridges in Medertari area within one month. But despite the passage of three months, no amount has been sanctioned so far.
It was also reported that an amount of Rs 10 crore would be sanctioned by the Government for the development of Medertari. The Rural Development Minister also assured to provide one house to the kin of the deceased under the Indira Awas Yojana.
The Central Water Resources Minister inaugurated an engine boat, MV Jajabor on May 5. At the same time, Chandan Brahma, State Transport Minister, handed over a memorandum to Bhasan, requesting sanction of Rs 365 crore for the development of water transport and provision of 200 passenger engine boats. The Central Minister assured that both the requests would be considered soon.
The people of Dhubri rued that neither the Central Government nor the State Government has taken any steps to fulfil the commitments. Even after the accident, most passengers boats are sailing in the Brahmaputra without any valid documents and fitness certificates and also carrying passengers more than capacity.
Meanwhile, Dhubri DC Kumud Kalita said that the compensation cheques have already been made and would be handed over to the victims� family members.