Rajamahendravaram: Kin become restive as officials offer no hope

Rajamahendravaram: The agonising wait of family members of passengers who went missing in when tourist boat Vasista Royal Punnami capsized in Godavari on September 15 for the bodies their dear ones is continuing even after 10 days with no end in sight. On Wednesday, the relatives who have been gathering at the government general hospital here put up a banner urging the Andhra Pradesh High Court to take note of their plight and direct the state government hand over the bodies of their family members which have not been traced yet.

Thirty-eight tourists died and 13 bodies are yet to traced while 26 passengers survived in the mishap at Kacchulurumanda under Devipatnam mandal. The family members of the missing tourists are waiting at the hospital for the bodies of their family members from the last 11 days. The state ministers as well as officials are hinting that it is difficult to bring the sunken boat from the riverbed due to prevailing flood situation in the river.

The families are angry at the government as officials are not even responding to their enquiries and neither issuing death certificates.

"I have been waiting here for the bodies of my nephew Pavan Kumar, 45, and his wife Vasundhara, 40, for the last 11 days but in vain. Officials are clearly telling that they can't get the bodies and we should not bother them. How many days can we wait like this?," said M R Prasad of Hyderabad while speaking to The Hans India.

He said the helpdesks were removed and except for a few police personnel, no officer from revenue or any other department was not here. They are not even issuing death certificates to their family members who were not traced so far, he added.

He said it was the duty of the government to give a clear reply in this regard and explain what they were going to do in this regard. The officials are not coming forward to conduct DNA test to the decomposed bodies to identify them, he added.

S Satyananrayana, a close relative of boat driver Sangadi Nookaraju, alleged that the government was trying to pass on the blame on both drivers. "Nookaraju is a licensed driver and had been in the trade for 30 years. He had been driving Punnami boat for the last three years. How can the drivers intentionally commit the mistake since they too are human beings," he said.

He wondered as to why the government was not responding to the offer of some private persons to retrieve the boat if they were provided with some material and equipment.

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