Recently, the State Government introduced 11 modern vessels for traversing various stretches of the Hooghly and other rivers. These vessels have been built following the latest guidelines issued by the Government under the Jaladhara Scheme.
The State Transport Minister inaugurated the vessels. He also inaugurated two modernised jetties on the Hooghly – the 120m-long Telenipara Jetty in Hooghly district and the 50m-long Shyamnagar Jetty in North 24 Parganas.
The 11 vessels are MV Motibag, MV Rupashree, MV Bibek, MV Kalyaneswari, MV Sampriti, MV Motijheel-3, MV Chandeswari, MV Baitarini, MV Bhorsagar-2, MV Samabathi and the 400-passenger capacity MV Sikshashree.
Over the last seven years, the State Government has completed renovation of 47 jetties and completing another 27, built 27 permanent jetties replacing temporary ones and completing another 36, and launched 55 modern vessels of various categories and completing work on another 199.
The new guidelines for building vessels under the Jaladhara Scheme has resulting in the setting up of 37 minor enterprises for building motor boats, launches and other motorized vessels.
Under Jaladhara, the Government is also providing training to those drivers who used to pilot non-motorised vehicles to navigate the new motorised vessels.
The Government is also introducing a cadre of water police called Jalasathi. These Jalasathis would be deployed at the jetties to ensure that the vessels are following the rules passenger capacity, availability of life jackets, etc. a total of 626 Jalasathis would be deployed; 236 are undergoing training at Swami Vivekananda Police Academy in Barrackpore, who would be deployed soon.
As part of the Jaladhara Scheme, the Government has also created a standard operating procedure (SOP) to be followed by the passengers boarding vessels at all the 471 jetties along the Hooghly.