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EditorialLessons Not Learnt!

Lessons Not Learnt!


Although there must be concrete guidelines for the boats ferrying people in rivers and other water bodies, hardly people give due importance to such safety protocols leading to disasters like the one which struck in Jhelum River at Gandbal on the outskirts of Srinagar.

Reportedly, six persons, including two brothers and their mother, were killed when a boat carrying mostly schoolchildren capsized in the Jhelum River. It is pertinent to mention that there were 19 persons on the boat, of whom 10 were rescued in an operation undertaken by the SDRF, and Police and other agencies.

After the tragedy various quarters have raised voice against the government for delay in the construction of Gandbal-Batwara Bridge because they believed that had the bridge, which was sanctioned in 2017, was completed in time, the aforesaid lives would have been saved.

Historically, the lack of adherence to safety guidelines among some boatmen has led to mishaps and tragedies. The Jhelum remained the site of unfortunate accidents due to the negligence of some boatmen. These incidents serve as a stark reminder of the importance of following safety guidelines and regulations. One of the primary reasons behind these mishaps is the failure to prioritize safety over other considerations. Some boatmen may prioritize materialistic gains over ensuring safety measures and this is one of the main reasons behind aforesaid tragedies. This disregard for safety not only puts their own lives at risk but also jeopardizes the safety of passengers. Another contributing factor could be the lack of proper training and awareness programmes for boatmen.

Many may not be fully aware of the potential risks involved in their work or the safety protocols that should be followed. This highlights the need for comprehensive training programmes that emphasize the importance of safety and provide practical guidance on how to ensure it.

Notably, the J&K Government has issued an advisory making life saving jackets compulsory for passengers using water transport. Besides, directions were also issued for safety audits of all means of water transportation in the Union Territory.

To address these issues, there is a critical need for increased awareness and enforcement of safety regulations. Authorities should work closely with boatmen to educate them about the importance of safety and provide them with the necessary resources to comply with regulations. Going by the tragedy that killed children also, it seems that the lessons have not been learnt despite many disasters that struck Jhelum River making it imperative to become serious over the issue to stop such disasters in future.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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