In a major tragedy, at least 100 people are feared drowned when a ferry capsized in the Brahmaputra in lower Assam's Dhubri district on Monday afternoon, following a cyclonic storm that left a trail of destruction. So far, 12 bodies have been recovered, official sources in Dhubri said.

Superintendent of Police Pradip Saloi told The Hindu: “The ferry, originating from Dhubri and going towards Hatsingimari, capsized near Fakirganj. We are not sure about the actual number of passengers. We have been told that there were 250-300 passengers. However, there were reports of many swimming to safety.” Rescue efforts by the police, the Army and the Border Security Force were on even as the services of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been requisitioned.

Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) V.K. Pipersenia, when contacted, said an NDRF team was on its way to the tragedy site. One column of the Army based in Dhubri and the river wing of the BSF had already moved to the area. A team of 25 BSF personnel with six boats had been rushed to the site.

Mr. Pipersenia said inland ferries in Assam were not equipped with any meteorological device and the entire system was old and traditional. “We will have to take up with the India Meteorological Department the matter of issuing advanced storm warnings to prevent such accidents.”

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