The tragic death of at least 12 persons and missing of 30 others in a boat capsize in river Godavari today brings up yet another fresh debate over the negligence of the Andhra Pradesh tourism department.
It is not for the first time such an unfortunate incident has happened. It may be recalled that in 2014 and 2017 too such accidents have occurred in the swirling waters of Godavari at the same place and in the same season where the incident occurred today especially during the fag end of the rainy season.
It can also be said that the recurrence of such incidents has become almost a regular phenomena each year. Still, the state government hasn’t learnt the lesson as the inflow of water in this season would be anywhere from 1-2 lakh cusecs every day.
The government negligence is evident from the fact that it has not set up an Information Centre at the Entry and Exit points either side leave aside deploying an officer to coordinate with the tourists at certain key points. It is a customary practice like at Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar cruise points, and at Bhavani Island at Vijayawada, an officer will be available for tourists at any given time so that they will be guided properly.
Similarly, the tourism department has no controlling mechanism over the plying of illegal and unauthorised boats by private people in this tourist-zone between Devipatnam and Papikondalu since the area has turned vulnerable for accidents. Moreover, the unauthorised operators carry heavy loads of passengers against all norms without following precautionary measures.
It was found that the boat was carrying 62 members as against the permissible capacity to carry 30 members at a time besides the victims were found without wearing life jackets. Adding fuel to fire, according to AP Minister Avanthi Srinivas who has confirmed that the operator doesn’t have the license to run the boat.
Now, who is to be blamed for the precious loss of 40 innocent lives?