AP govt asks marine firm to retrieve capsized boat

PTI File Photo

The Andhra Pradesh government has finally decided to handover the responsibility of bringing the capsized private tourist Boat “Sri Vasishta” from the bottom of the river Godavari near Kachalur of Devipatnam block of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

The boat sank on 15 September with 77 people including the staff of the boat while 36 bodies have been recovered so far and it is feared that seven from Telangana and eight from Andhra Pradesh might have been trapped inside the boat. The remaining survivors were taken to safety within minutes of the accident.

While their death is a bygone conclusion, their relatives are undergoing a painful wait at the Rajahmundry general hospital to know what really happened to them. According to district officials following up the recovery operations the responsibility to bring the boat to surface from a depth of 250 feet to Balaji Marines a Kakinada based shipping company owned by Dharmadi Satyam a deep water diver. The firm believed to have 24 top rated divers in its rolls.

The firm will also have an expert deep water diver Shiva from West Godavari district for assistance. Shiva is said to be a dare devil fisherman who has the knack of diving deep without any major technical help and then tying the boat with the rope that acts a lead. Already a red coloured Buoy has been installed by the Navy at the spot where the boat capsized after a Sonar detective pinpointed the exact location. However heavy inflow of flood water from upper riparian states has hindered the search operations.

The government will be paying Rs 25 lakh for the firm and Shiva to bring the ill-fated boat to the shore. The government’s inaction al these days has come under severe criticism from the opposition in Andhra Pradesh, as it was believed there were more than 90 passengers in the boat at the time of the accident and the boat was running without permission. It was alleged that the tourism minister Avanthi Srinivas was behind the mysterious phone call to the Devipatnam police that allowed the heavily loaded boat to face the 5 lakh cusec flood water that day. The opposition suspects that the real death will be more if the boat comes out of the river. The recovery work is expected to begin from Monday.

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