New Delhi: At least 12 people were drowned and 30 others went missing after a boat carrying them capsized in Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district on Sunday. The boat, on way to popular tourist spot Papikonda, was carrying around 60 people including nine crew members. If reports are to be believed, the boat was being operated without a license, despite floods and in violation of safety guidelines of the Tourism Department.
Officials said that majority of the people on the boat hailed from Telangana — 22 from Hyderabad, 14 from Warangal. Reports claimed that 24 people were rescued by locals while the search was on for others. Rescue workers have recovered 10 bodies.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the mishap and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of the deceased.
Further, he directed the officials to carry out rescue operations on a war-footing. He asked them to use National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, besides pressing into service Navy and ONGC helicopters in the rescue operations.
The Chief Minister also ordered all the available ministers in the district to rush to the scene and supervise the rescue work. He directed the officials to suspend all boating services immediately in the region. The Chief Minister sought a complete report on the incident and directed framing of safety guidelines by an experts committee.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also expressed his grief over the tragedy. He also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for victims’ family.
Besides, PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah also paid their condolences to the bereaved families. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, PM Modi wrote,”Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy.”
The Prime Minister posted another tweet in Telugu, calling the incident ‘traumatic’.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Shah said that he is deeply pained by the loss of lives in boat mishap. “The loss of lives due to capsizing of a boat in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh is very unfortunate. I am deeply pained. My thoughts are with families of those who have lost their loved ones. May god give the bereaved families strength to withstand this tragic loss”, Shah tweeted.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also paid his ‘deepest condolences to the families of those who perished in the boat tragedy’. He wrote,”I’m sorry to hear about the boat accident in the Godavari river, in Andhra Pradesh. I pray that all those reported missing will soon be accounted for and that they are safe.”