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Ports, WRD wash their hands off tragedy citing GO: Avanthi Srinivas

Rajamahendravaram: Ports and water resources departments are washing off their hands on the boat capsize tragedy citing GO No. 667 which authorises licence to boats for operating on the river.

The issue came to the fore during Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy's marathon review at sub-collector's office here on Monday on boat mishap at Kachhaluru Mandam of Devipatnam mandal.

The angry Chief Minister wanted to know the reasons for the mishap, responsibility of departments concerned in issuing fitness certificates, allowing operations, checking, arrangement of control rooms, maintenance of the private tourist boats.

In response, ports department officials said the GO empowered them only to issue fitness certificates to private tourist boats and launches and they were not concerned with other aspects as GO Number 667 issued in November 2017.

On the other hand, water resources department (WRD) officials too tried to absolve themselves of any responsibility saying GO No 667 divested them of any authority regarding movements of private tourist launches and boats in rivers in the state and hence the department was not keeping tab on these operations.

However, the GO also calls for arrangement of control rooms at important points to monitor the movements of private tourist boats and launches. Though it does not specifically entrusts this task to any one department, why water resources department is not bothered about doing this is the moot question. After a boat tragedy in Krishna river at Vijayawada in 2017, there was utter confusion about the responsibilities of ports department and WRD.

Even the ministers who addressed press conference also spoke about the GO No 667 and is lapses solely to apportion the blame for the accident on the previous government, they kept silent on the failure of WRD to arrange at least control rooms.

As both department tried to wriggle out of their responsibilities in the name of the said GO, the Chief Minister ordered formation of a high level committee to suggest effective measures for boat operations in the rivers and also to identify the departments responsible for boat capsize.

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