Three officials of the Inland Water Transport department have been suspended.
A woman has died after a private boat capsized in the Brahmaputra river near Nimati Ghat in Assam’s Jorhat district after a head-on collision with a ferry boat on Wednesday, reported ANI. In total, both the boats had around 120 passengers.
A National Disaster Response Force official said that there were 70 passengers on the boat that capsized and efforts are on to rescue them. The Army will join the rescue operations on Thursday, Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Ashok Barman told the Hindustan Times.
NDRF assistant commandant of 12 Battalion said that around 35 to 40 people were feared drowned in the incident and at least 35 passengers have been rescued so far, reported News18. Earlier, it was reported that over 100 passengers have been rescued.
The deceased has been identified as 38-year-old teacher Paromita Das, who died at Jorhat Medical College.
The ferry boat of the Assam’s Inland Water Transport department was coming from Majuli district to Nimati Ghat, while the other boat was headed in the opposite direction when the collision took place.
A video of the incident showed some passengers trying to hold on to the boat as it was capsizing, while others jumped into the river.
The Assam government has ordered departmental action against those found guilty. Three officials of the Inland Water Transport department – Executive Engineer Bikramaditya Choudhury, Assistant Executive Engineer Mukut Gogoi and Junior Engineer Ratul Tamuli – have been suspended.
The government has also directed state Transport Secretary Jadav Saikia to conduct an inquiry into the accident.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief about the incident. “All possible efforts are being made to rescue the passengers,” he tweeted. “I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he has spoken to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and offered support from the central government. “The state administration is doing everything possible to rescue the people,” he said. “We are continuously monitoring the situation.”
Sarma said that he has directed Majuli and Jorhat administration to undertake rescue mission expeditiously with the help of disaster relief forces. The chief minister said he will visit Nimati Ghat on Thursday to evaluate the situation, reported NDTV.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the accident. “Let’s hope the rescue operation manages to save lives in the next few hours,” he said. “I appeal to local Congress teams to help in every way possible.”
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