The hydrographic survey of the route, taken by boats of the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) operated from its eight stations in Alappuzha district and Changanassery station in Kottayam district, which includes the Muhamma-Kumarakkom sector, is likely to be taken up in two weeks.

SWTD director, Shaji V. Nair told The Hindu that the sanction for the survey has been given by the Government following the request of the Department. The hydrographic survey is the scientific measurement and description of features that affect maritime navigation. It will bring out the depth of the waterway through which boats travel.

“Now we do not know the depth of the waterway through which our boats operate. This can sometimes lead to accidents. The survey will bring out the depth statistics and we have to then approach the Irrigation Department with the data to bring about corrections. A survey will then have to be undertaken again to check whether the corrected depth is safer for the boats to operate,” he said. Mr. Nair said that the Hydrographic Survey Wing under the Port Department will be undertaking the survey which will commence in two weeks.

The boats of the SWTD are in a better position regarding safety measures in the wake of a fire in two houseboats resulted in the death of a crew member and gutting of the two houseboats. First of all, they do not have elaborate electric equipments like AC and equipments like cooking gas in kitchen in the houseboats. There are fire extinguishers in all the boats of the SWTD and they have third party insurance coverage too.

Moreover, the staffs of the SWTD, who are now all PSC hands, are trained by the Fire Force personnel in fire fighting and rescue operations. A mock drill was also conducted where the staffs were trained on how to rescue people who fell into the water using buoys.

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