Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday termed as “shocking” and “haunting” the boat accident at Tanur area of Malappuram district two days ago that claimed 22 lives, including 15 children.
The High Court also initiated a PIL on its own to find out why the authorities allowed the vessel to operate by allegedly flouting rules.
A bench of Justices Devan Ramachandran and Shoba Annamma Eapen said their “hearts were bleeding” and they “underwent sleepless nights” after seeing the lifeless bodies of the children. The court said the accident happened as a result of “the deadly cocktail of callousness, greed and official apathy.”
Frequent Boat Tragedies In Kerala
The Kerala High Court also directed the Malappuram District Collector to file a report by May 12. The High Court also criticised the state government for not taking action against officers responsible for the tragic boat incidents.
The high court said it was initiating the petition on its own to ensure that such an incident does not happen ever again. The bench noted that such boating tragedies were happening in the state with “frightening regularity” since 1924 when Kerala lost Mahakavi Kumaranasan – one of the triumvirate poets of Kerala – when a boat from Kollam to Kottayam sank at Palana.
The boat capsized near an estuary close to the Thoovaltheeram beach in Tanur area around 7.30 pm on Sunday. According to district officials, 15 of the deceased were minors aged eight months to 17 years and there were 37 persons onboard the ill-fated boat.
NDRF Continues Rescue Work In Tanur
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which was deployed for search and rescue operations in connection with the boating tragedy here that claimed 22 lives, continued to look for victims on the river bed on Tuesday in view of doubts over the exact number of people on the vessel.
The boat capsized near an estuary close to the Thoovaltheeram beach in Tanur area around 7.30 pm on Sunday. Several bystanders and some of the survivors have claimed that the actual number of passengers may have been more than that as it was the last trip of the boat and as a result, a lot of people had boarded the vessel.
The owner of the boat was caught from Kozhikode and brought to Malappuram. However, he was not taken to the Tanur police station where a case has been registered against him for operating the vessel without a licence.