Basudeb Banerjee, state chief secretary on Friday held a video conference with the District Magistrates and asked them to intensify vigil to prevent accident in such boats.
It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the administrative meeting which she held in South 24 Parganas on August 11 had asked the administration to take proper steps to ensure safety of the passengers. It may be recalled that several people died after a motorised boat capsized at Kalna in Burdwan in June.
It was decided that the ghats from where the motorised boats ply would be illuminated. The owners will have to renew license on time and tickets for the passengers will have to be introduced. The state government will start a census of motorised boats that ply in the state. The district administration has been instructed to ensure that the boats do not carry more than 30 passengers. There should be proper vigil by the district administration.
Motorised boats that ferry passengers in rural areas do not follow any norm. There is no ticketing system and also there are no proper jetties. There is no restriction on the number of passengers they carry. Travelling in such boats becomes very risky during monsoon when the rivers spate and there is current. There are no safety devices like lifebelts on the boats. Most of the boats are not properly maintained.
The boats carry not only people but goods, animals and even Totos are ferried from one place to the other. The ghats from where they pick up passengers and drop them are not illuminated and during monsoon they pose a serious threat. Due to overloading there is every possibility of the boats facing accidents.
It has been decided that the district administrations will intensify their vigil. The census will also help the state transport department to know the exact number of motorised boats that ply in the state along with their condition.