In an unprecedented move, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has come out with a slew of measures to address boat accidents. It has decided that all boats in the state will be painted bright yellow and each one will have a number assigned to it.
Special guidelines for boatsmen have also been issued by the state government to check the increasing number of boat accidents in the state.
According to a circular issued by Relief Commissioner G.S. Priyadarshi, every boat will be painted yellow and will have a load line that cannot be crossed.
Information of boats and boatsmen will be registered at the panchayat and district level. The panchayat will also have the power to make surprise inspections of the boats and stop over-loading.
The circular said that all boatsmen were to be classified as skilled and semi-skilled, depending on their expertise in boat navigation.
Following their registration, the panchayat and the district will be informing them about bad weather through SMS. This information would also be given out through public address systems and designated flags.
Boats that carry animals would not be allowed to carry passengers alongside, only the owner of the livestock would be allowed to travel along.
The ghats along the rivers, where passengers embark and disembark from boats, will be suitably modelled to prevent accidents.
Every boat will have to carry safety devices like life jackets and first aid boxes and information about any accident will have to be given to the nearest police station.
The state government also plans to start a three month awareness campaign to make the boatsmen aware of the need for adopting these safety measures.
This was the first time that such an exercise was being undertaken by the state government to ensure safety while taking the water route.