Majuli Ferry Mishap: passenger still untraced, Transport Minister Patowary suspends officials

Chandra Mohan Patowary, Transport Minister of Assam has suspended three officials in connection to the drowning of a 60-year-old passenger at Jorhat’s Nematighat today. Ashim Kumar Baruah, a Junior Engineer at Inland Water Transport department’s Jorhat Sub-Division has been put under suspension with immediate effect. Section Assistants Alok Gogoi and Bitupon Boruah have also been placed under suspension for not maintaining details of passengers.

Reportedly manual tickets were issued to only a handful of passengers traveling on RPL Digaru where the sad incident took place. The vessel was traveling from Neamati ghat to Kamalabari ghat. Allegedly no records or details were kept due to the downtime of the e-ticketing server. Later on, one such passenger jumped into the Brahmaputra River and has remained untraceable. 

Vivekananda Phookan, Chairperson of the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority has been directed to carry out an inquiry to ascertain facts and circumstances leading to the incident and related issues and submit a report within 15 days.     

It is to be remembered that just a few months back, a major boat mishap had taken place near Nimatighat which left three persons dead. The incident spurred the government to take strong steps and ban small ferry boats and use proper ferry boat steamers for daily travel of passengers.