Brahmaputra ferry mishap: Assam govt seeks Bangladesh's help

May 03, 2012, 07:20 IST | Agencies

Considering the fact that strong river current might wash away bodies downstream to the neighbouring country, state sends SOS to Dhaka

While the district administration yesterday resumed the search operation with the help of Border Security Force (BSF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel for the victims of Monday’s ferry tragedy, the state government has sought help from the Bangladesh government for recovery of the bodies, an official said.

A government spokesman said that Bangladesh’s help had been sought considering the fact that the strong river current might wash away the bodies downstream to Bangladesh.

Fishing out bodies: National Disaster Response Force personnel attempt to find bodies near the sunken ferry. 

The government also said that the state machinery had been asked to take precautionary measures to stop the recurrence of such incidents.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi is also likely to visit the area today to review the situation, the government spokesman said.

Although it is estimated that about 270 persons died in the worst ever ferry tragedy in Assam that took place on Monday in Lower Assam’s Dhubri district, the district administration is yet to confirm the exact number of deaths.

“We received reports that there were about 350 people on board and only 80 of them were rescued alive. However, our investigation is still on but we cannot confirm the exact number of deceased as we have not recovered the bodies. We have received only 42 missing complaints till yesterday,” said Dhubri deputy commissioner Kumud Kalita.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi meets victims’ families during his visit to the accident site at Bura-Buri village in Goalpara district. Pics/AFP

He hinted that they might have to presume the missing persons are dead. “However, it’s too early. We would be able to confirm only after completion of the inquiry,” Kumud said. 

Assam puts ferry tragedy toll at 63
State authorities yesterday put the death toll in the ferry tragedy at 63 but furious locals insisted that not less than 200 perished in the Brahmaputra.

Aloke Singh, commander of the 1st battalion of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), meanwhile said that fishermen had spotted some bodies in Bangladesh’s rivulets.
“We are cooperating with the forces along the Indo-Bangla border. We are told some bodies have been spotted there. We are expecting they would hand over them to us soon,” he said.

The crowded ferry carrying — by some accounts — around 300 people, capsized at Madattari in Lower Assam’s Dhubri district on Monday evening when it was hit by a storm. The first reports put the death toll at 270.

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