The 30 passengers, along with four medical personnel, who were marooned on a sandbar of the flooded Brahmaputra in Upper Assam’s Dhemaji district since Monday evening, were rescued on Tuesday morning.
A report published in the The Telegraph stated that the mechanised boat got stuck on the Modang Taku sandbar, nearly 5 km from Jonai on Monday evening. Rescue operations could not be continued at night due to “poor visibility”.
The report further stated that the boat was travelling from Tinmile Ghat at Jonai in Dhemaji district to Kabo Chapori, a sandbar in the same district. “A rescue team found us around 8.30 pm. They tried their level best to move close to us but in vain. The team brought food items with them which they gave us and assured us of help as soon as day broke. We spent the night in an abandoned cattle shed on the island,” Munna Majhi, 50, the boatman, said.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Dhemaji RA Korati said the 30 passengers, comprising women and children, were on their way from Jonai to Kabo Chapori. “Our rescue team was sent at night, but because of low visibility, the operation was stopped till daylight,” she said. “We arranged food for all the people,” she said.
“At daybreak, rescue teams resumed operations and the boat was rescued from the sandbar and people were able to proceed to their home in Kabo Chapori,” the DC added. Majhi, who saved the 30 people from drowning, said: “We started our journey with 30 passengers as usual. Every day our boat plies between Kabo Chapori and Tinmile Ghat. But since last month, the flow of water in the Siang has been unusual, with high tides and waves. The voyage to the destination was nearly 20 km. The people from the island move to Jonai for marketing and selling their agricultural produce. When our boat covered nearly half the distance, an unexpected flow of water compelled me to move to a safer area.”
He further added that people in the boat informed the administration about the problem. “Keeping in view the safety and security of the people I continued to fight with the unexpected tide for hours, after which I saw the Modang Taku sandbar. I turned the boat and we got stuck. The passengers, along with our boat team, had to pass a night of uncertainty.”