VIJAYAWADA: Following the tragic death of around 20 people in the boat accident in the Godavari near Manturu village of Devipatnam mandal in East Godavari district, the Krishna district officials woke up and conducted a meeting with boat operators apart from carrying out inspections at ferry points. In Vijayawada alone, as many as 38 boats are being operated on Krishna river by both APTDC and private companies.
Joint collector Vijaya Krishnan, along with revenue divisional officers, panchayat raj and rural development officials carried out inspections and collected details of all the boats and ferries being operated between Krishna and Guntur districts. Officials from water resources, revenue, police and tourism department conducted simultaneous inspections and checked whether the operators have licences, fitness certificates and safety gears.
Speaking to Express, Vijaya Krishnan said, "We are on high alert after the recent accident and instructed the officials to conduct raids on all boats that are being operated in the district. As per the State government guidelines, we have formed district level committees and monthly inspections are being carried out. We don't want to see repeat of such accidents any more in our district."
Meanwhile, district collector B Lakshmikantham warned of stringent action against owners who are operating boats without lincence and flouting safety regulations. The collector further said operation of boats after 5.30 pm was not allowed.
Usually, a large number of people from Amaravati, Rayapudi, Kolluru, Govindapuram, Machavaram and other places in Guntur district travel by boats. Similarly, people from Ibrahimpatnam, Nagayalanka, Kodavati Kallu, Ambadipudi villages daily travel to other side of the river.
In view of the heavy demand, about 200 speed boats, ferries, and steamers are operated by private individuals on Krishna river to ferry people between the two districts. Though travel by country boats is fraught with risks, a large number people prefer this mode of transportation.
For adventure and tourism alone, 38 boats, including 10 of APTDC, are being operated in Bhavani Island and Pavitra Sangamam. On Sundays and holidays, hundreds of people flock to enjoy boat rides on the river.
V Eswaraiah, manager at a local boating club, said, "After the Pavithra Sangamam boat accident, all the rules and regulations were changed and officials are quite strict about licence rules. Though we offer life jackets, many people are reluctant to wear them. The craze for selfies among tourists on boat rides is adding to risk factors."