Jorhat Police arrest 7 IWT staffers  

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4 attached with ‘Ma Kamala’ including owner’s son picked up
HT Correspondent
JORHAT, Sept 12: Jorhat police have arrested seven persons, all employees of Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department in connection with the September 8 boat accident at Nimatighat.
A police source stated that the six people, who were picked up on Saturday evening, were staff of IWT posted at Nimatighat. One more employee of IWT Jorhat too was apprehended later and arrested on Sunday.
“We have arrested six IWT staffers from Nimatighat after finding out that they had not followed the procedures. The accident could have been avoided,” a senior police official said.
“Presently, we are trying to reconstruct the scenario and find out how the accident took place,” the official said without sharing further details.
At least two persons died and one went missing after a private boat with 92 passengers on board capsized following a head-on collision with a government-owned ferry near Nimatighat in Jorhat district on September 8.
The collision took place when private boat ‘Ma Kamala’ was heading towards Majuli from Nimatighat with passengers and vehicles, while government ferry ‘MB Tipkai’ was coming from the world’s largest river island.
The arrested persons were: Jogen Das, Biju Kumar Das, Jayanta Dutta, Binod Baruah, Babul Neog, Dhanbar Das and Pradip Borbora.
They were booked under Section 304 IPC in the Jorhat Police Station case number 1933/2021, which was registered as per chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma’s directive who during  his visit on September 9 to Nimatighat had announced lodging of a criminal case regarding the mishap.
A local court on Sunday remanded the arrested persons.
Meanwhile, on Sunday four more persons were picked up in connection with the same boat mishap case and were brought to Jorhat Police Station. All were associated with the ill-fated ‘Ma Kamala’ boat.
The persons were Prasanta Paugam, one who controls direction of the boat, Badan Dutta, engine driver , Bipul Bora, ticket collector of ‘Ma Kamala’ and Gautam Kalita, son of Paniram Kalita, owner of the ‘Ma Kamala’ boat.
Visiting the accident spot the next day, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that in the initial probe, ‘mismanagement’ was found to be the prime reason for the accident.
Meanwhile, various agencies such as National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), police and district administrations are conducting an extensive search in the accident spot and even 100 km downstream for the missing person.
He was identified as Bikramjit Barua, a doctor hailing from Jorhat who was posted in Majuli. The deceased were Parimita Das, a college teacher from Guwahati and Indreswar Borah, a school teacher from Lakhimpur.
Meanwhile, a Ro-Pax boat has been started between Majuli and Jorhat on Saturday to cater to heavy rush of people at the Ghats of both the districts.

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