Report holds ‘heavy wind‘ responsible for Chilika boat tragedy

BHUBANESWAR: The preliminary investigation report submitted by the Directorate of Ports and Inland Water Transport in Chilika Boat tragedy has ruled out the technical glitches and held the ‘heavy wind’ responsible for the capsizing of the boat in the lake on June 16 killing six persons.

The probe report was submitted to the state government on Friday. “We got the report today. Prima facie it appears that the boat was capsized due to sudden heavy wind in the . It’s not a case of overloading or technical failure,” said G Srinivas, commerce and transport secretary.

Commerce and transport minister Nrusingha Charan Sahu had asked director of Port and Inland Water Transport Subrat Rout on June 18 to probe the incident and submit a detailed report to the government.

Srinivas said the state government had provided adequate life jackets and lifebuoys to the owner of the ill-fated boat. But the boat-owner had not used the equipment on the day, he added.

He said the Khurda administration had given 20 life jackets to the owner of the particular boat against the seating capacity of 15 persons. “We are examining the findings and suggestions of the report so that we can take corrective measures to prevent such mishaps in future,” he added.

The secretary said the department is planning to impose fine on the boatmen for not using the lifesaving equipment. “We will chalk out a plan to sensitize both the passengers and boatmen to use lifesaving equipment before starting their boat journey,” he added.

Four children and two women had drowned in the Chilika Lake on June 16 after the country boat they were travelling in got capsized in the middle of the lake. They were returning from Kalijai temple inside the lake after Raja celebrations.

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