By- Staff Reporter | Date – May 01, 2012
Search and rescue operations are in full swing for more than 100 people who are still missing after a steamer carrying at least 350 passengers sank in the Brahmaputra river in Assam on Monday after being caught in a severe storm. The steamer had left Dhubri ferry ghat for Mederteri in south bank of the district in the evening. It capsized because of the impact of the strong storm.
However in this worst ever boat tragedy in the state, it has been alleged that the reason for the deaths is not just the storm but lack of safety. It has been alleged that boats sailing across the mighty Brahmaputra in the region were always over packed with no life jackets. Life guards or safety gear was out of question and as such a tragedy could have happened anyday.
As hundreds of people wait at the banks of the Brahmaputra for information on their family members missing in the ferry capsize, there are grievances and allegations on the Government for not regulating or paying attention on the safety standards of riverine communication.
Rescuers, including the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), BSF, Army and Assam Police have been braving torrential rains searching for any signs of survivors at the river. 103 lives have been lost so far already and the authorities fear that the casualty figure will rise as over 100 people are missing. Two helicopters were being used, but rough weather was hampering the search operations, as reported. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced compensation of Rs. two lakh each for the next of kin of those killed in boat tragedy.