Effect of ban on plying of single-engine ferries

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HT Correspondent

JORHAT, Oct 12: Most of the shops and business establishments in Majuli have downed shutters from Monday following a 48-hour bandh call given by traders and shopkeepers of the river island district demanding the plying of single-engined cargo boats between the Nimati (Jorhat) and Kamalabari (Majuli) Ghats by the government.
After the passenger-ferry accident at Nimatighat on September 8 that led to the drowning of three persons, the government prohibited the plying of single-engined boats to ensure safety of the passengers.
However, traders who buy goods from the Jorhat wholesale market complained that due to the ban imposed on single-engined boats they were facing a lot of difficulties in transporting commodities to the Brahmaputra island as the cargo boats were all single-engined.
“About nine goods ferries used to transport goods to the Brahmaputra island from Jorhat prior to the prohibition imposed on single-engined boats,” they stated.
The traders stated that the government had made one double-engined vessel available to transport goods to Majuli from Jorhat, which they pointed out was not enough to maintain the regular supply line for about two lakh population in the river island.
The result was shortage of goods in Majuli for about a month after the single-engined ferries were stopped from operating.
The traders alleged that despite bringing this to the notice of the district administration no solution was provided.
In order to highlight the problem they had resorted to shutting down shops for 48 hours.

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