| An overcrowded boat in the Ganga. Telegraph picture |
Travelling by boats in the state would become safer as these would be equipped with life jackets and lifebuoys for use in case of an accident.
The boats would also be registered to maintain a database.
Vyasji, the principal secretary of the disaster management department, said they had provided Rs 12 lakh to the transport department to start registering the boats.
The local administration of different districts have been given the task to ensure that the boats operating in different rivers follow safety guidelines in loading passengers and adhere to other rules.
“There have been many boat accidents in the state. One main reason is that the operators don’t follow safety measures and overload their boats. Most of the times, the boats are not in a good shape too,” he said.
He added: “The transport department, at present is in the process of registering the boats operating in the different rivers so that a database can be maintained. Both the departments will ensure that the registered boats have adequate number of life jackets as well as lifebuoys, which can be used in cases of emergencies.”
The principal secretary added that all registered boats would follow other safety standards, too.
“In each of the boats, a red line will be drawn to mark the danger level. If the red line starts to sink while loading passengers, the operator should stop taking more passengers. The money will also be used to train these operators. At present, there is no system of regular patrolling along the different ghats. But the divers of the disaster management department keep a constant patrol during Chhath,” Vyasji added.
The boats will be registered only after these adhere to safety standards.
Sources said the registration of boats would solve many problems.
“The registration process aims to have a complete database of boats operating in the waters. The boats will be checked for safety before being registered and there will not be any room for lapses,” a source in the transport department said.
Patna district magistrate Sanjay Kumar Singh said the sub-divisional officers and the local police had been given the task of registering the boats.
“They have been given the task. The process is on though it is a bit slow,” said Sanjay.
Vyasji said around 250 life jackets have been distributed in different districts to deal with any flood-like situation.
“Apart from this, our department has already provided funds to the transport department to train the boat operators. There has been an agreement between the two departments. Acco rding to the agreement, the registered boats must have life jackets and lifebuoys,” said the principal secretary.
Sources added that the boats in each district would also be numbered.