Search on for Assam official missing in boat capsize, Ajmal sees ‘conspiracy’

Dhubri (Assam), 30 Sep: A search was on for a senior government officer who went missing after a mechanised boat carrying 29 passengers capsized in the Brahmaputra river in Dhubri district of Assam, near the Bangladesh border, an official said on Friday.
A team of SDRF personnel and BSF jawans, along with locals, have rescued the 28 other people, including a few school students, he said.
Dhubri Circle Officer Sanju Das, however, is yet to be found, he added.
AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal, who is the local MP, alleged it to be a “conspiracy” to “remove” an honest officer.
“The entire incident may be a conspiracy to remove an honest officer and we demand that the investigators look into this angle,” he said after visiting the area.
“We pray Das survives the boat capsize and recovers. But if the circle officer is not found, his family must be compensated and a government job should be provided to his kin,” he added.
Das was returning to Dhubri along with two other officials after surveying an erosion-affected area in Aminur char.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that efforts were on to find Das but “it is not clear why the circle officer and the others were on a boat meant to carry cargo”.
Assam Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah, who visited the spot, said all efforts are on to find Das and experts from outside the state will arrive on Saturday to intensify the search operation.
On Ajmal’s allegation, he said, “It appears to be a mishap but the matter will be probed from all angles. Police have already arrested two persons and nobody will be spared if found guilty of negligence.”‘
The mechanised country boat capsized on Thursday after hitting a pillar of the under-construction Dhubri-Phulbari bridge at Bhashanir, about 3 km from Dhubri town, Deputy Commissioner Anbamuthan MP said.
Two employees of a multinational construction firm, which is building the bridge, have been arrested for allegedly obstructing the rescue operations, police said.
A case has been lodged against them under various sections of the IPC and Disaster Management Act, 2005, they said.
“Further investigations are on and more arrests are likely to be made,” Superintendent of Police Abhijit Gaurav said.
A team of district officials, including Gaurav, visited the India-Bangladesh border and urged the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to keep a vigil and help BSF personnel in tracing the official.
The BGB officials assured them of all help and cooperation.
Officials said that the boat has been located and efforts are on to lift it with the help of cranes.
Those rescued have been admitted to a nearby hospital, where the condition of five people is stated to be serious, they said.
Meanwhile, a Congress delegation led by the party’s state working president Rana Goswami visited the site of the mishap on Friday morning.
Goswami told reporters that they will meet those rescued and their family to find out if there were any lapses in the safety measures. (PTI)