OHRC seeks detailed reports on Chilika boat tragedy

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Khurda/Berhampur: Three days after the death of four passengers in a tragic boat mishap in Chilika Lake, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today directed the Commerce and Transport department, Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Southern Division, IG, Southern Range and Ganjam Collector to submit a detailed report on the  tragic incident within three weeks.

In the meanwhile, talking to media persons after his visit to Barkul today, Khurda collector Niranjan Sahu said he and Khurda SP had come to the lake site area for an inspection to see whether the passenger presently ferrying in Chilika Lake are abided by the Odisha Boat Rules. “We asked the boat owners’ associations to ensure that only boats that are registered will be allowed to ferry in the lake. Prior to the registration, the boat must have a license which would mean that the boatman must be qualified to ferry the boat and the boat must have life jackets and life buoys. Apart from this, that boat must be insured and in a running condition. A majority of boats are registered and have the license. The Associations have assured us to complete these formalities for the remaining few boats in a couple of days,” Sahu said.

To a question on whether the Khurda district administration has asked the Puri and Ganjam district administrations to take similar action against the boat owners who are illegally ferrying in the lake without any registration and license, Sahu said he hopes that the two district administrations must have taken similar action.

In another case, the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Khallikote, today granted bail to boatman Bideshi Mallick, while the Rambha Police produced a minor boy, who was with Mallick in the ill-fated boat, before the Juvenile Justice Board in Berhampur.

Notably, 29 members (18 male, 8 female and 3 children) of a family and their relatives and friends of Sabulia village were on the way to Ghantasila inside the lake for a picnic on Saturday when the boatman lost control of the overloaded boat which capsized.

While four persons including two children died in the mishap, the remaining passengers were rescued by the local fishermen and the Fire Brigade team.

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