Dhubri, Jan. 2: Altogether 150 passengers of a boat had a close shave when a goods-laden ferry collided with it near Berabhanga village under Sukchar police station of Dhubri district this morning.
As the two boats collided, a few of the passengers fell from the roof of the boat into the river on impact while the goods-carrying boat capsized with grocery items worth Rs 5 lakh. However, the passengers were immediately rescued by others on the boat.
One of the passengers, Shah Jamal, who reached Dhubri ghat around 1pm, told The Telegraph that all the passengers were safe but the goods-carrying boat capsized and lost all its cargo.
The BSF personnel from Hatirchar border outpost later fished out the capsized boat.
“I along with some businessmen boarded the boat, SB Noorjahan, at Kokradanga ghat, which set sail at 9am for Dhubri. When the boat was near Berabhanga village, two goods-carrying ferries were seen coming from the opposite direction. The first ferry went past our boat but the second one hit the boat with great intensity. Some of the passengers fell into the river on impact,” Jamal said.
The Dhubri Zilla Launch Malik Kalyan Samiti secretary, Khandakar Golam Mostafa, said the boat was registered one but the mishap occurred because of the inability of the boatman to handle it properly.
“Most of the boatmen of Dhubri district are not trained. We have been demanding the government to set up a training centre here at Dhubri but till now no step has so far been taken by the authority,” Mostafa said.
On December 12, nearly 200 passengers had a close shave when a Dhubri-Fakirganj boat got stranded in the river in Dhubri district near Dhourbari-Kaizar char village because of a glitch in the engine.
On November 5, about 300 passengers were rescued by the BSF and police personnel when the Dhubri-Sukchar boat got stuck near Bheramara char village close to Bangladesh border because of overloading.
The sectional officer of Dhubri Inland Water Transport (IWT), Prafulla Kalita, said they had launched a drive against the irregularities of the boats plying in Dhubri district on December 31 and collected Rs 6,000 as fine.
Kalita said they were making efforts to streamline river transportation.
An official source said till now, altogether 26 boats got licence from the director of IWT and applications of 631 were pending with the department for registration and it would be done this month.