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Assam Transport Department yet to frame rules of IWT Regulatory Authority Act

The State Transport Department has not even framed the rules of ‘the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority Act, 2018’, let alone implementing it.

Assam Transport Department

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 Sep 2021 1:45 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: The State Transport Department has not even framed the rules of 'the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority Act, 2018', let alone implementing it. The department also stopped short of forming a full-fledged Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority.

These facts got revealed at the meeting of the Act Implementation Committee (AIC), the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA), held on Wednesday. The revelations bear significance in the post-Nimatighat ferry accident.

After its passage in the State Assembly and Governor's assent on November 15, 2018, the 'the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority Act, 2018' got notified in the Assam Gazette on December 10, 2018.

When an Act gets notified in the Assam Gazette, the department concerned needs to frame rules to implement the Act. As per 'the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority Act, 2018', the Transport Department needs to form the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority. However, the department has not framed any rules, nor has it formed any full-fledged Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority. The Act says that the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority should have two to four members besides the chairman. The State Government appoints the chairman and the members of the regulatory authority. On September 1, 2021, the department appointed Vibekananda Phookan as the chairman of the regulatory authority but stopped short of the members. It also got revealed at the meeting that the Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority has no supporting staff.

Talking to The Sentinel after the meeting, ALA's Act Implementation Committee Chairman Mrinal Saikia said, "It has come to light that the department concerned has not framed the rules for the implementation of 'the Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority Act, 2018'. The department also stopped short of forming a full-fledged Assam Inland Water Transport Regulatory Authority. We have asked the department to frame rules and form a full-fledged regulatory authority to implement the Act without further delay.

"It has also come to the fore at the meeting that the Inland Water Transport Department has excess staff. It has deployed staff members even in parghats that have no IWT vessels. It seems as though a section of employees draws salaries without having to do any job. We have asked the department to look into the matter. It can send the excess employees either to other departments or send them to voluntary retirement.

Top-level officials of the Transport Department were also present at the meeting.

The purpose of the Act is "to promote safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally sound inland water transport and terminal services for the benefits of ferry users, freight consigners and water tourism in the state".

Also Read: Nimati Ghat Ferry Mishap: Owner of Boat Pani Ram Kalita Arrested by Dibrugarh Police

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