VISAKHAPATNAM: With no trace of the eight NAD staffers from Visakhapatnam among the 29 persons on board an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft, which had gone missing off the Chennai coast on July 22, the families of employees now allege negligence of officials of the IAF and Navy in their search operations. Two weeks after the incident, the family members officially addressed newsmen and alleged that the authorities of NAD and Indian Navy had stopped communicating them the developments in the case for the last five or six days.
The family members alleged that the only answer that comes from the NAD authorities and Navy, when they call or approach them, is - 'Search is On'. "We are fed up of listening to the same answer daily. We are very much worried about our family members. This is a matter of lives and all the persons have families, children. We need an immediate clear update over the missing aircraft," said J Prasad, a relative of Samba Murthy, a missing person. Some families also alleged that after a week of rigorous search, the authorities have laxed and decreased the intensity in search operations.
Kiran Kumar, a relative of Prasad Babu, said that the incident was an untoward one, but it happened due to negligence of IAF authorities. "We came to know through media that the AN-32 aircraft has faced three technical snags in the last one month. How can they use it for operations in such conditions," he questioned. "We asked the same question to NAD DG Chatterjee, who ruled out giving any information and said that everything was perfect in the aircraft. Then we asked about the missing update, we hear the same reply," he added.
A couple of days back, Kiran Kumar, a senior commander from Trivandrum, called them and said that the Russian Navy was also helping in the search but till now there was no update.
Family members also said that the officials must update them on the search operations immediately and must also make use of technology in search operations. M Chinna Rao, uncle of G Srinivasa Rao, said that Srinivasa Rao's wife is a five-month pregnant now, and her health condition is not stable since her husband went missing. He appealed to the authorities to intensify the search using technology. Out of the 29 persons who went missing, eight _ B Samba Murthy, Bhupendra Singh, P Nagendra Rao, RV Prasad Babu, Purna Chandra Senapati, Charan Maharana, N Chinna Rao and G Srinivasa Rao are employees of the Naval Armed Depot (NAD) in Vizag and residents of Butchirajupalem, Vepagunta, Gopalpatnam and surrounding areas near the NAD junction. Out of the eight, Purna Chandra Senapati and Charan Maharana are natives of Ganjam district in Odisha and residents of Visakhapatnam. The employees started from Visakhapatnam on July 20 and reached Chennai at around 8 am on July 21.