JORHAT: Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday flagged off four newly-constructed ferry vessels of Inland Water Transport Department at Kamalabari Ghat here. Later taking part in the public meeting held at Alimur Mising Gaon, the Chief Minister hailed the occasion as historic as the new ferry vessels would greatly benefit the commuters of Majuli who would now avail the services of new ferry boats to travel between Majuli and Jorhat in less time. Saying that no country could prosper without the development of communication and transportation infrastructure, Sonowal stated that waterways played a vital role in the economic progress of a country and that was why developed countries had been using waterways for centuries for their trade and business. The limitless possibilities of the Brahmaputra must be harnessed to develop Majuli and the State, he remarked.
Out of the four vessels, one is a 28-metre-long steel catamaran built at a cost of about Rs 2 crore which will carry more than 150 passengers apart from four vehicles and 50 motorbikes at a time. The other three vessels have also been constructed keeping an eye on the specific requirements of ferry passengers. The new ferry boats are expected to boost the departmental ferry service while minimizing the people’s dependence on private ferry service. One Roll-on/Roll-off vessel is also slated to be operational from October between Neematighat and Aphalamukh of Majuli which will facilitate movement of eight loaded trucks and 200 passengers in a single trip.
Asserting that Majuil will no longer remain underdeveloped as all the new schemes of both the Central and State governments will be implemented in the district, the Chief Minister said that both sides of Majuli will be connected with Jorhat and Lakhimpur with new bridges for faster development.
“There is tremendous curiosity of the people around the world about Majuli who want to visit the place and the State government is taking up lot of initiatives for developing tourism potential of Majuli. All superstitious beliefs must be removed from the society with scientific temperament and people of both Barak and Brahmaputra valleys of the State must remain united in the spirit of harmonious co-existence for faster development of the State,” the Chief Minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, State Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that apart from the Ro/Ro vessel to be launched in October, the State government was going to bring a cruise vessel amounting Rs 15 crore to Majuli for providing cruise services over Brahmaputra river. He also said that Majuli was on the way towards rapid development due to the commitment of the Chief Minister, who is also the local MLA of the district, and people here must join hands to strengthen his development initiatives. He also assured that the bridge connecting Majuli and Jorhat would be built once the DPR was completed by the South Korean firm entrusted with the work.
Earlier, another vessel for a new ferry service between Ahotguri and Misamora was also launched by the Chief Minister on Thursday which will greatly shorten the travel time for people between the places. Apart from these vessels, one Ramp Powered Lighter (RPL), which has been refurbished to carry JCB and dumpers to Majuli from Jorhat side, was also launched by the Chief Minister. Sonowal also laid the foundation stone of an Amenity Centre of IWT Department at Kamalabari Ghat with gender and disabled-friendly facilities. He also distributed financial assistance from MLALAD to 36 beneficiaries suffering from critical diseases under ‘Suhrid’ scheme. Land allotment certificates to 40 landless families and 10 e-rickshaws and 10 hand pumps were also distributed to beneficiaries in today’s meeting.
Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah, MLA Bimal Bora, who looks after Majuli on the Chief Minister’s behalf, also spoke at the meeting which was attended by Commissioner and Secretary of Transport Department, Ashutosh Agnihotri, Director of IWT, Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhary and Deputy Commissioner of Majuli, Deba Mishra.