Aggrieved father of the Brahmaputra boat capsize victim Ankita Baruah’s father, Arupdhar Baruah, on Thursday refused to accept the compensation announced by Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Baruah, while asking the department concerned and the State Government to accept their failure to stop mishaps in the Brahmaputra, said, “No one can purchase me and stop me from exposing the Government.”
Seventeen-year-old Ankita Baruah, a higher secondary first year student of Cotton University, died in the mishap on Wednesday.
Talking to media at his residence in Silsako village of North Guwahati on Thursday, Baruah said, “Compensation cannot fill the vacuum in our family created by her (Ankita) demise. I’ll come with evidence soon and reveal the condition of the river transport system.”
Besides, Baruah urged the political leaders not to politicise the tragic boat mishap that occurred near Ashwaklanta Temple, which is located on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati, on Wednesday.
Refusing to accept the compensation announced by the State Government, Baruah, who is an employee of PWD, questioned, “Is the Government trying to buy me by providing money?”
Meanwhile, the owner of the ill-fated boat, Kamal Das, has been arrested by police.
“We have been living here in Silsako village since 1977 and this house is almost 120 years old. Since 1977, the river transportation system has been running in the same condition. There is corruption in all levels from top to bottom,” Baruah said.
Lashing out at the Inland Water Transport (IWT) Department, Baruah said, “IWT has taken no initiative till date for safe journey in the river. The department stays busy in collecting tax from the boats. There are two to three very weak machanised boats which travel between Fancy Bazar Ghat (Guwahati) and Majgaon Ghat (North Guwahati). We can identify the condition of the boats, even more than professionals, as we understand water related issues like current, etc.”
Talking on the State Government’s suspension order of machanised boats (bhutbhuti), Baruah said, “We have seen many tragic accidents and heard about such orders many times. But, we haven’t noticed any permanent solution. Neither the previous Government nor the present Government has tried to understand the miserable condition of the people of the north bank.”
Utpal Bora, the father of another student, Dimpi Bora, who also lost her life in the boat mishap, also blamed the Inland Transport Department and the Government’s negligence for the Wednesday’s tragedy.
Dimpi Bora was also a student of higher secondary first year student of Cotton University.
Talking to media persons, Bora at his Bihalongoni village in North Guwahati said, “We are poor people. We cannot afford our child to go to college by road. It takes around 2 hours by road. People of North Guwahati have no option except the mechanized boats as there are no sufficient Government ferries. Moreover, students, Government employees along with others of this bank are bound to use machanised boats to maintain time.”
Bora, who is a school van driver of a private school, told the media, “I cannot make you feel the pain. The incident, which occurred due to the negligence on the part of the IWT and the Government, has washed away our dream.”
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the residences of both the victims and the spot of the incident on Thursday. The Minister announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of both the deceased.
Asom Gana Parishad’s media secretary Manoj Saikia also visited Utpal Bora’s residence.