Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Sep 9:
At least 40 ferry passengers had a narrow escape today as they managed to swim ashore to safety after a mechanized boat capsized in river Gobari near the Jambu Ferry Ghat under Mahakalpada police limits in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, police said.
However, nine motor cycles that fell into the river when the boat capsized could not be retrieved, said Nilakantha Bhoi, tehsildar Mahakalpada.
Bhoi said the boat was overloaded far beyond its capacity and that is what led to its capsize. He also said the boat didn’t have safety equipment like life saving jackets.
The tehsildar said legal action will be initiated against the errant private boat owner, adding that the boat’s driver has been arrested.
He said there would be an inquiry to find out if the boat had the mandatory fitness certificate from the inland water transport department for ferrying passengers.
The state government’s new guidelines prescribe that only those boats which have safety gadgets, insurance cover, eco-friendly and less noisy engines are eligible to get license to ferry passengers.