The CM of Assam has flagged off 4 catamaran ferries that are funded by World Bank so that the state can ensure smooth transportation of passengers and ensure their safety too. Assam is the state of the North-Eastern part of India and is one of the major rivers of the country Brahmaputra. This river crosses the whole state of Assam and finally gets to the Padma in Bangladesh. Therefore a huge portion of the transportation system is dependent on waterways. This is why the CM has flagged off 4 such modern ferries so that they can ensure safety to the passengers.
These four ferries were flagged off from the Pandu Port of Guwahati. The authorities of the Inland Water Transport department state that the vessels are of high quality and they can carry passengers as well as vehicles too. These vessels will increase the load-bearing capacity of the wider transport network of the state. Among these four ferries, two will operate from Guwahati to Majuli island. They have the power to carry 100 passengers along with 50 two-wheeler vehicles. On the other hand, two of them will operate from Guwahati-North Guwahati and Uzanbazar to Umananda ferry ghat.
These vessels are furnished with all the modern facilities like the control and monitoring of the waterways along with high efficiency of communication and navigation systems. There is GPS to track the vessels, echo-sounder mechanism, and wind measurement devices. In addition, there are lifesaving facilities and fire-fighting equipment too. As the Brahmaputra and the Barak rivers and their tributaries are connected with the life and heritage of the state, these rivers can never be ignored.
On one side these rivers have played vital roles in helping the citizens into their cultivation, on the other hand, it created difficulties in communications between people of two sides of the rivers. According to the CM of the state, the Inland Waterway Transport department had a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the World Bank and thus, the World Bank sanctioned Rs. 770 crores to the government so that they can improve the transportation status of the state.
Since this amount from the World Bank is a loan to the State government of Assam, the central government of India will repay 80% of the total fund and the rest will be paid by the State government. According to the CM, after the accident occurred at Nimatighat, they decided to stress the safety of the ferry service and the passengers.
It is the initiative of the state government that the water transportation network in Assam is going to be rejuvenated with the help of modern technological interventions. The Inland Waterways Transport department of the state is now increasing the number of boats sailing on the rivers, with some sailing as far as 200 nM between stops. Where only 16 ferries were available between Majuli and Jorhat, now the number will be increased to 20 as per the statement of the transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary. They have also planned to increase the number by 10 more by next year.