GUWAHATI, Aug 9: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday flagged off four newly constructed vessels of inland water transport (IWT) department at Kamalabarighat here.
Later taking part in the public meeting held at Alimur Mising Gaon, Sonowal hailed the occasion as historic as the new ferry vessels would greatly benefit the commuters of Majuli who would be avail the services of new ferry boats to travel between Majuli and Jorhat in less time.
Strengthening of the land, air and water communication is a prime commitment of the state government and various steps have been taken to build infrastructure at a rapid pace, he said.
Stating that no country can prosper without development of communication and transportation infrastructure, the chief minister said that waterways play a vital role in economic progress of a country and that is why, developed countries have been using waterways for centuries for their trade and business.
All great human civilisations have come up at the banks of rivers and the limitless possibilities of Brahmaputra must be harnessed to develop Majuli and the state, he remarked.
Notably, out of the four vessels, one is a 28-metre-long steel catamaran built at a cost of about Rs 2 crore which will carry more than 150 passengers apart from 4 vehicles and 50 motor bikes at a time. The other 3 vessels are also constructed keeping an eye on the specific requirements of ferry passengers.
The new ferry boats are expected to boost the departmental ferry service while minimizing the people’s dependence on private ferry service. One Roll-on/Roll-off vessel is also slated to be operational from October between Nematighat and Aphalamukh of Majuli which will facilitate movement of 8 loaded trucks and 200 passengers in a single trip.
Asserting that Majuil will no longer remain underdeveloped as all the new schemes of both the central and state governments will be implemented in the district, the chief minister said that both sides of Majuli will be connected with Jorhat and Lakhimpur with new bridges for faster development.
Urging the people of Majuli to find the power within themselves to compete with the very in the world, Sonowal said that there is spiritual energy in the river island as it was chosen by the Gurujonafor making it the seat of Neo Vaishnavite culture.
Speaking on the occasion transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that apart from the Ro/Ro vessel to be launched in October, the state government is going to bring a cruise vessel amounting Rs 15 crore to Majuli for providing cruise services over Brahmaputra river.
He also said that Majuli is on the way towards rapid development due to the commitment of the chief minister who is also the local MLA of the district and people here must join hands to strengthen his development initiatives. He also assured that the bridge connecting Majuli and Jorhat would be built once the DPR is completed by the South Korean firm entrusted with the work.
Earlier, another vessel for a new ferry service between Ahotguri and Misamorawas also launched by the chief minister which will greatly shorten the travel time for people between the places. Apart from these vessels, one Ramp Powered Lighter (RPL), which has been refurbished to carry JCB and dumpers to Majuli from Jorhat side, was also launched by the chief minister.
The chief minister will also lay the foundation stone of an amenity centre of IWT department at Kamalabari Ghat with gender and disabled friendly facilities. He also distributed financial assistance from MLALAD to 36 beneficiaries suffering from critical diseases under ‘Suhrid’ scheme. Land allotment certificates to 40 landless families and 10 e-rickshaws and 10 hand pumps were also distributed to beneficiaries in the meeting.
Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah, MLA Bimal Bora also spoke at the meeting which was attended by commissioner and secretary of transport department Ashutosh Agnihotri, director IWT Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhary, Majuli deputy commissioner Deba Mishra among others.