Chilika boat capsize: owner held

Bhubaneswar: A day after the ill-fated boat capsize incident that claimed as many as six lives in Chilika lake, the owner of the boat was arrested on Sunday.

As per information, the owner of the boat, Basant Behera who had gone hiding after the incident was reported on Saturday evening, was nabbed by Balugaon police last evening.

Earlier the boat driver was arrested in connection with the tragic incident. Police are likely to interrogate and inspect whether the owner has flouted the safety norms that should have been ensured for tourists visiting Chilika lake. It is to be noted that similar boat capsize incidents have taken place in the past and sources blame that unfit boats with no life jacket, untrained boatman and faulty engines led to such a disaster.

On Saturday, at around 5.30 pm, the boat carrying as many as 17 passengers including 15 tourists from Bhubaneswar and Nayagarh capsized in Chilika lake. The passengers were returning after a sight-seeing tour in Kalijai when the boat capsized under the impact of strong winds during a thunderstorm that lashed the region.

With the help of intense search operation by fire personnel and ODRAF team, bodies of two persons including a minor girl were fished out on Saturday while four more bodies including that of a woman, two girls and a boy were retrieved on Sunday.

As many as nine other persons who were rescued alive are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Balugaon and Bhubaneswar.

Expressing grief, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the kin of deceased and free medical treatment for all the injured persons.

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