GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma decided on a series of safety measures as part of Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for plying of vessels between Nimatighat and Majuli and elsewhere in the state.
The Chief Minister reviewed the functioning of the Inland Water Transport Department here today.
As a part of the SoP, plying of private vessels with single engine, except those with marine engines with reversible gear will remain suspended. Six government vessels including two Ro-Pax, shall remain in operation between Majuli and Jorhat. One dredger will be used to maintain the channel/gradient for smooth ferry services even in lean season. All 19 private passenger vessels plying between Majuli and Jorhat will be fitted with marine engines with reversible gear at the expense of the government within six months. All passengers will be required to wear lifejackets before departure of the vessel. Minimum two ramps/ temporary jetties will be maintained at each ghat of Majuli and Jorhat for docking and mooring of boats. One Magistrate in Majuli and one in Jorhat will be detailed to be present during departure and arrival of the ferries. The magistrate will submit the daily report to the concerned DC.
Tickets will be issued to every passenger and his name, address and contract number will be maintained in the register before boarding the vessel. In order to avoid conflict of interest and other difficulties, the fuel for vessels will be made free from ceiling by the Finance Department.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Majuli and Jorhat will frequently visit and inspect the arrangement made at the ghats. Director, IWT and other senior officials of IWT and Transport Dept will regularly visit the Ghat to ensure that the ferry services are operating smoothly. Basic amenities like toilet, drinking water, waiting area shed etc., shall be provided at each ghat.
Safety audit shall be carried out for vessels by competent IWT Officials before being put to use. The vessels shall be inspected for their overall fitness, availability of firefighting and lifesaving equipment, competency of crew members etc. These certifications shall be recorded in the surveyor declaration form before issuing survey certificate and registration certificate. Safety announcements be given by the master of the ferry through a loud hailer on the do's and don'ts, emergency procedure, procedure for wearing a lifejacket, handling of lifebuoy etc. Written script will be provided and promulgated by IWT. There should be one lifebuoy ring against four passengers. The lifebuoys should have a rope attached having at least 30 feet length. Vessels should be equipped with the loud hailer, siren, aldis light, whistle, cell phone etc. Reliable communication network should be maintained between the master and in-charge of the ghat and they should regularly remain in contact over phone. SIM cards will be provided by the government to the master and in-charge of the ghat.
Training of all the masters and crew to be undertaken on the basic navigation stability, related rules in the water, firefighting,emergency operation etc. One SDRF team will be stationed at Majuli and it will be kept in readiness to respond any emergent situation, a press release said.