JORHAT, Feb 12 � The ferry service between Neamati-ghat and Majuli across river Brahamaputra is becoming hazardous day by day due to overloading and overcrowding of the barks sailing to and fro. Today�s incident in which a Tata Sumo hired by a group of people from Tezpur to visit Majuli fell into the bosom of the river near Neamatighat indicated the immensity of the danger of a Neamati-Majuli trip.
Usually four-wheeled vehicles are brought on two planks from the shore into the ferry to carry them across the stream. But often the ferries are found to be overloaded with such vehicles. Today, in such an attempt, the Sumo fell off the ferry with its driver inside.
Fortunately, the driver knew how to swim and rushed out of the sinking vehicle and saved his life with the help of the people. Later, he was taken to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital by 108 service.
The sunken vehicle is still under water. An employee of a ferry at Neamati said that the ferry port near the shore is about 30-feet deep. So, the Sumo must have hit the bottom of the river in that place.
The unsafe journey across the Brahamaputra might prove to be a hindrance, at a time when Majuli is seeking recognition as a World Heritage Site. Though the government as well as district administration have been carrying on development works in the whole area including the river island, they are quite unaware about these ferry journeys that put lives of commuters in jeopardy.
Talking to this correspondent, Siba Kalita, president of AJYCP, Jorhat district unit, said that the then Jorhat DC had promised to regulate the ferry service in September 2010 at a joint sitting with the district administration and the AJYCP. But till date, no attention has been paid by the district administration in this respect. Vehicles, cars, motorcycles, cattle and the people � all have to travel in overcrowded vessels to cross the Brahamaputra.