Violation of safety norms spells doom for commuters in Middle Andaman ferries

Report by: 
V SENTHIL KUMAR
RANGAT
11 Dec 2017

Despite reports in the local media, violation of crucial safety norms continue unabated in vehicle ferries operating in the Middle Andaman region putting precious human lives and property worth crores at risk. According to reports, vehicle-cum-passenger ferry vessels operating in the Middle Strait-Nilambur and Gandhi Ghat-Uttara sectors in Middle Andaman allow transport truck tanker carrying inflammable products, trucks carrying LPG refills and other cargo products along with commuters, private and public vehicles and passenger buses in tandem in violation of safety norms, while instances have also come to light that ramps of vehicle ferries carrying passenger buses on the edge are kept lowered during commute risking human lives and property at sea.
In two separate incidents reported last Saturday, an oil tanker loaded with highly inflammable petroleum products got stuck in the vehicle ferry at Uttara leaving commuters and other vehicles stranded for several minutes. Another vehicle ferry was found transporting a private passenger bus of Anand Transport on the edge with the ramp lowered.
“As per rules, truck tankers and trailers carrying inflammable items like petroleum products should never be transported along with public/private vehicles and passengers as a small lapse can cost hundreds lives and property within seconds. But transporters open flout the regulations putting at risk human lives and property in the Middle Andaman region. Oil tankers can be easily seen transported on the vehicle ferries in the two sectors, Nilambur-Gandhi Ghat and Gandhi Ghat-Uttara, along with passenger buses, commuters, private and public vehicles. Though such movement of truck tankers carrying petroleum products is dangerous, the practice has been continuing unabated for the past several years right under the nose of the authorities,” said some commuters speaking to EOI.
“There have been instances in the past when vehicle narrowly missed mishaps due to lowered ramps of the vehicle ferry. Vehicle on the edge can fall into the sea in case of a minor slip-up like break failure, but still the crew operating the ferries prefer to keep the ramp lowered. Such lapses can spell disaster and several human lives, government and public property worth crores will be destroyed in a flash. Police personnel deployed on the spot to regulate such movement of vehicle prefer to ignore the violations. The authorities should take a strong note of the situation and take appropriate measures to prevent any major disaster in the region,” they added.