Modi and Shah assure full support
Sonowal takes stock of situation
Three engineers suspended
JORHAT/GUWAHATI: Over 50 people were feared drowned in the Brahmaputra when two ferries collided at Nimatighat in Jorhat today. One of the ferries with around 100 passengers on board capsized and sank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and expressed deep concern over the accident. He said, "I'm with the people of Assam in this hour of distress."
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed anguish over the ferry accident.
The Chief Minister will leave for Jorhat on Thursday for an on-the-spot visit. Three engineers of the State Inland Water Transport (IWT) got suspended for negligence of their duty. Both SDRF and NDRF personnel are in action to rescue the passengers. While they rescued around 40 passengers, scores of them are still missing.
The single-engine boat capsized after the collision as some passengers tried to hold on to it, while others jumped into the water. The water current swept away the passengers' luggage, motorbikes and cars on board the ferry.
The Jorhat District Administration officials are not sure how many people were on board the ferry.
Sources said that the double-engine Inland Water Transport ferry named 'Tipkai' coming from Kamalabari Ghat to Nimatighat had a collision with the single-engine private boat 'Maa Kamala' run under the IWT, leading to the capsize of the latter. The smaller ferry reportedly broke on one side.
A person stationed at the dock said that the ferry drivers probably lost control while making a turning at the turbulent river current.
Meanwhile, 18 rescued passengers are under treatment in the JMCH.
Reacting to the incident, Amit Shah tweeted, "Anguished to learn about the tragic boat accident. I have spoken to the CM. The state administration is doing everything possible to rescue the people. We are continuously monitoring the situation. We also assured full support from the Central Government."
Sarbananda Sonowal said that he had talked to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding the incident. He directed the officials of his ministry to provide all necessary support to help the victims.
State Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary ordered a departmental inquiry into the accident. The department has placed three IWT officers — Executive Engineer Bikramaditya Choudhury, Assistant Executive Engineer Mukut Gogoi and Junior Engineer Ratul Tamuli – under suspension.