JAIPUR: At least 11 people were drowned and three others missing after an overcrowded boat carrying about four dozen people overturned in the Chambal river on Wednesday in Rajasthan’s Kota district.
The dead included men, women and some children.
A prime reason of the boat tragedy was the loading of motorbikes which were also placed in the boat to cross the river. In addition, not one person on the boat was wearing any safety jacket. By the time the police and the district administration could reach the spot, many of the boat passengers had already drowned.
The boatman managed to swim to safety Passengers who knew how to swim were lucky to be rescued by locals, who said that a large number of people were swept away by the swift current of the river. Most people had boarded the boat to visit Kamleshwar Dham near Gothala Kala in Bundi district.The boat capsized in the area between Chanada and Gothada village. Rescue operations were continuing till late in the evening.
“The wooden boat was in a terrible condition and still it was packed with more passengers than it could bear. In addition, lots of bikes were also put on board,” an eyewitness said. Kota District Magistrate Ujjwal Rathore, who supervised the rescue operation, said 11 bodies were fished out from the river. “If any negligence is found, we shall not spare the officials responsible for this tragedy.” Expressing his condolences, CM Ashok Gehlot announced ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the people who have died in the tragedy.