Bhubaneswar: In connection to the Chilika boat tragedy in which as many as four persons including two children died recently, the Odisha Commerce and Transport department has amended the Odisha Boat Rules, 2004.
At a review meeting held on Friday, all the collectors across the state were informed to streamline the boat service in inland waters. The Collectors have been asked to survey the boats in service, their registration status and get the unregistered ones to the book. The mechanical engineers in districts would lead the surveyor teams for the purpose.
Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi while reviewing said that the enforcement measures would help tighten safety aspects of passengers. As per reports, out of total 2,449 boats and ferries operational in 747 ghats across 135 water bodies in the state, only 1,772 are registered .
During the meeting, the following decisions were taken towards the amendment of the rule:
- The government has sanctioned Rs 1 crore for procurement of 550 tubes, 2750 life jackets and 110 fire extinguishers meant for 110 boats though the total budget is estimated at Rs 16 crore.
- In the first phase, boats operating in Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Puri, Khurda, Sambalpur and Bargarh will get the safety equipment before registered boats in other areas are covered.
- It is made mandatory to maintain a toll free number at all ghats and so also passenger’s rights would also be displayed prominently.
- All the passengers travelling in a licensed boat will be covered by life insurance.
- Enforcement squads would be constituted.
Among others present during the meeting were, Transport and Commerce department Secretary Sanjay Rastogi was also present.