Maharashtra Maritime Board officials to issue strict warnings to owners against overcrowding on boats; will penalise Rs 100 per passenger over the capacity of the vessel

This New Year's Eve if you wish to take a ferry ride from Gateway of India, plan way ahead as the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) is leaving no stone unturned to keep a check on overloading of passengers on the boats.

Stricter measures: Officials state that those found guilty of overloading
will have to risk the cancellation of their licences. File pic

After MiD DAY reported ('Disaster floats at Gateway,' October 2) on how ferry boats plying from Gateway of India overload passengers in order to earn an extra buck, the MMB has established strict checks to prevent overloading and have issued a warning that those found guilty would have to face the music.

Confirming the same, Chief Port Officer Captain J B Rohila said, "The respective port officers have been asked to issue warnings to the ferry owners. Additionally, we will be conducting checks on the ferries."

He added that if boat owners overload the ferries with passengers despite their warnings, they would be fined Rs 100 per passenger. And in case, they continue to violate the law, their licences will be cancelled.

Raking in the money
Meanwhile, opportune owners are already cashing in on the demand for ferries for New Year's Eve.

"The charges for a ferry from 9 pm to 12 am on the night of December 31, will be Rs 30,000. In case, patrons want to consume alcohol onboard, an additional Rs 10,500 would be charged for a liquor permit.

We will also be charging a separate Rs 2,500 from the revelers in order to manage the patrolling authorities in case they turn up," said Rauf Malwankar, the ticketing officer of a ferryboat.