Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday ordered the police to file a criminal case in connection with the boat capsize in the Brahmaputra in Jorhat district that claimed one life while two persons are still missing. After visiting the accident site with senior officials, Sarma told reporters that as per the initial probe, mismanagement was found to be the prime reason for the accident, which happened on Wednesday evening.
“I have asked the Jorhat Police to file a criminal case for the accident. we will announce a high-level probe to find out the reasons behind the accident,” he said. The chief minister also said that there are 10 private machine boats with single engines that operate between Nimati Ghat in Jorhat on the southern bank of Brahmaputra to Majuli, the world’s largest river island.
“From today, all single-engine boats will be banned from plying. Those engines are not marine engines. However, if an owner wants to transform them into marine engines, we will support them,” he added. Sarma said a marine engine costs around Rs 10 lakh, which will be provided to the willing private owners by the government immediately after their application.
“Out of the total amount, 75 per cent will be government subsidy and 25 per cent will be given as loans. They can start applying from today at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Majuli,” he said. Sarma also said a total of 90 persons were travelling on the ill-fated private boat. Out of them, one person died and two are still missing. Overnight search and rescue operations found 87 persons alive.