85 per cent of inland boats unsafe, says Ports Department
By Chandrakanth Viswanath | ENS | Published: 01st August 2013 08:13 AM |
Pointing a finger at the callousness of the majority of the boat operators, an inspection by the state Ports Department has found that nearly 85 per cent of the registered inland boats in the state are unsafe.
The department could give a clearance to only 338 vessels, while listing them safe, after inspecting 2,000-odd boats. These include houseboats, passenger boats and other motorised crafts.
The department decided on a safety audit, the details of which has been published in their website, after a series of mishaps claimed several lives.
“Publishing the list of safe boats was one of the suggestions made by the nine-member committee constituted by the government and headed by the Tourism Secretary after the January 26 houseboat tragedy in Alappuzha. It is aimed at sensitising the general public and the tourists,” said Jacob Thomas, Director (Ports).
The vessels were given safe boat tags after testing them for stability, status of insurance coverage for passenger and crew, presence of bio tanks, display of Kerala Inland Vehicle Number on four sides and maintenance of Fire Fighting (FF)and Life Saving (LS) appliances on board.
Among the six Port of Registries in the state, Alappuzha, which also includes the water bodies in Kottayam, has the maximum number of safe boats. The region which can be termed as the hub of houseboats in the state, has 157 boats in the ‘safe list’.
Vizhinjam, which includes Thiruvananthapuram district, comes second with 87, while Kodungalloor, which includes Ernakulam, Thrissur and Idukki districts have 70 safe boats. While Beypore can boast of 16 vessels in the list, not a single craft in Kasargod and Kannur districts, falling under the Azheekkal port, has met the requirements for a safe boat.
“This is a periodic process and we will be updating the list once in three months. Those boats which are out of this list can be included once they adhere to norms,” said C K Ajayan, Chief Surveyor, who led the inspection.