Technical glitch: Brahmaputra current pushes ferry with 105 passengers off course
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 21: The technical glitch of MD Kameswari, a State Inland Water Transport vessel, ferrying passengers between Guwahati –North Guwahati (Majgaon), occurred today revealed the poor condition of the vessels of IWT department.
As many as 105 passengers on the ferry that was crossing the Brahmaputra from the northern bank to the southern bank of the river in Guwahati had a close shave with disaster today as the vessel was pushed off-course by the rapid current of the surging floodwaters of the river following a technical glitch of the vessel.
“The ferry was heading towards the Fancy Bazar ghat but the current carried it in the westward direction by almost one kilometer,” said an official of the IWT department.
“We have safely rescued the 105 passengers and 38 bikes. The incident happened due to a technical sg in the engine of the boat,” the official said. An official of the IWT department on condition of anonymity said that most of the vessels ferrying passengers between Guwahati-North Guwahati were in a poor condition and badly needed repair but due some unknown reasons the authorities have not taken any steps to replace these vessels.
“These vessels are 20 to 25 years old but not a single vessel has been replaced during the last several years. We don't know why the department has not procured new vessels,” added the official.
A source said the chances of a major mishap were quite high as the condition of these vessels is very bad.
A section of ferry passengers alleged that the department does not replace the old vessels vessels to facilitate benefit to the lessies. Water transport remains a popular mode of transport for the people residing on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati as passenger fare of ferries is much cheaper than the fare of buses and share taxis.
In the absence of ferries, the bhutbhutis (mechanized boats) cater the needs of the passengers.