VIJAYAWADA: While all political leaders and survivors of the tragedy blamed the government for the Manturu tragedy, East Godavari administration maintained that the boat that sank in the Godavari had the requisite licence and safety gear as mandated. Speaking to Express, district collector Kartikeya Misra said, “The boat had a licence and capacity to carry about 53 passengers, but we suspect it was overloaded.”
He further said that after the recent fire accident in a boat at Veeravarapulanka in Devipatnam mandal, the administration intensified efforts to check whether all the boats being operated on the Godavari had licences or not. “Incidentally, the ill-fated boat that sank on Tuesday was also checked by irrigation, revenue and police official who found that the operator had a licence and complied with all the necessary safety measures.”
Meanwhile. all the boating operations in the area have been suspended and only emergency services are being permitted. Kathikeya Misra further said, “This appears to be a man-made disaster. The passengers sensed danger and requested he pilot to turn back but he refused.” Misra also added that the only a forensic investigation could establish the exact cause.