Just a day after the City Police Commissioner conducted a meeting with tourist boat operators and decided to enforce safety measures in boats plying in Kochi backwaters, no tourist boats were seen using any safety gears on Tuesday.
Interestingly, the majority of boat owners were not even aware that a meeting with the police was held on Monday.
The boat owners at Marine Drive said that they are cautious about police raid in the wake of the boat tragedy in Alappuzha. “We did not know about the meeting held with City Police Commissioner and hence did not take part,” a boat owner said.
Although the rule applies to all tourist boat passengers to wear life jackets, not all boat operators adhere to the norms.
“We carry tourists as per the capacity of the boat. But we do not compel the tourists to use life jackets. The passengers in government boats do not use life jackets. If the system is enforced in State Water Transport Department boats then we will follow suit. Basically people do not prefer using jackets. But if anyone asks for it we will surely give jackets to them,” a boat operator said.
Even though there are restrictions on the number of people to get on to the upper deck, the majority of the tourists preferred enjoying the backwater beauty sitting atop the boats.
City Police Commissioner K G James said that the coastal police have been ordered to conduct checking and they carried out surprise checks on Tuesday.
“In the initial stage we will just warn them and later we will take action,” he said. According to him, the majority of the boats do not have life jackets and they will ask the boat owner to purchase them and insist on tourists using them.