Assam Still Does Not Follow Ferry Safety Panel Recommendations | Guwahati News

GUWAHATI: The suggestions and recommendations of the government-appointed commission of inquiry led by Jishnu Barua, then Additional Chief Secretary of State, after the 2018 ferry crash here, have yet to be implemented. work, which reveals the indifferent attitude of the state government, which came to light after Wednesday’s maritime tragedy in Jorhat district.
There were two investigations at the level of the additional chief secretary before the Jorhat accident, one in 2012 and the other in 2018, following similar tragedies. But the recommendations and suggestions remained only on paper. An official from the State Directorate of River Transport (IWT), which operates 102 ferries, said a post-incident incident was found, but the government did not stand up and take note of it .
“The Inland Waterway Transport Regulatory Authority Act 2018 has still not been implemented. The legislation aims to improve water transport and safety by subjecting all mechanically propelled vessels to a standardized set of operating standards. The law establishes a regulatory authority (RA) to help rationalize river transport. But the president of RA did not take the reins until Friday. While the other members have not yet been appointed, ”the official told TOI.
The Assam cabinet on Thursday again appointed a one-man committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Maninder Singh on the Jorhat tragedy, in which one person died and two others are still missing, and submitted a report within a month. The government also banned all private single-engine boats with immediate effect on Thursday.
Jishnu Barua, who is now the chief secretary, recommended in his 2019 investigation report that it would not be wise to shut down all single-engine boats at once, but to phase them out after the availability of ‘a sufficient number of double boats. motor boats.
“On September 7, 2018, the government suspended private mechanized boats (bhutbhuties) in all ferry systems. But neither IWT nor the district administration has sufficient staff or a foolproof mechanism to enforce the ban on sailing single-motor boats, ”the Jishnu Barua committee said.
IWT officials also said the department does not have an enforcement wing to check and monitor the operation of single-engine boats. “There should be a team dedicated to this application. IWT boats have never encountered an accident. Private boats are facing harsh weather conditions, whether it is the Guwahati ferry incident or the Dhubri or Jorhat accident, ”officials said, adding that the IWT was also facing to a staff shortage. The 10 positions of Deputy Executive Engineers are vacant.
The Barua panel had mentioned that all ferries and boats should have life jackets / liferafts, but this safety measure has not yet been followed today. “The number of life jackets on a ferry or boat should match the number of passengers. No exemptions should be allowed on this front, ”the report said.
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