Sun. May 26th, 2024

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'Cocktail Of Callousness, Greed, Apathy': Court On Kerala Boat Tragedy

The houseboat overturned near an estuary close to Thoovaltheeram beach at Tanur in Malappuram

New Delhi:

The houseboat accident in Kerala’s Malappuram district was “shocking” and “haunting”, the high court said today while initiating a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on its own to probe the tragedy that has claimed 22 lives.

The court said it “will not allow the tragedy to be forgotten”, news agency PTI reported this morning. The high court has asked the district collector to file a report by May 12.

Around 7.30 pm on Sunday, a packed houseboat overturned near an estuary close to Thoovaltheeram beach at Tanur in Malappuram.

Twenty two bodies have been recovered so far and the rescue work is still on. District officials have said 15 of the victims are minors, the youngest about eight months old.

The investigation so far has pointed to overcrowding as the cause of the accident. Officials have said 40 tickets had been sold but it is possible that more passengers were on the houseboat when it overturned.

The aftermath of the incident has also revealed several other glaring lapses that may have led to the tragedy. The recreational, double-decker boat reportedly did not have a fitness certificate. Also, the houseboat was operating after dusk in violation of norms, it is learnt. 

The PIL initiated by the court aims to find out why the authorities allowed the vessel to operate in violation of rules.

A bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Shoba Annamma Eapen said their “hearts were bleeding” and they “underwent sleepless nights” after seeing the bodies of the children.

The court said the accident was a a result of “the deadly cocktail of callousness, greed and official apathy”. The court said the PIL has been initiated to ensure that such an incident does not recur. 

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