Two of the three children, who survived the boat tragedy on Christmas day last year in Pulicat, have submitted a petition to the Tiruvallur district collector asking that their home in Gummidipoondi be opened.
“The house has been under seal ever since the incident. We do not even have a photograph of our parents. We need to take our personal belongings from the house in which we were living as a joint family,” said one of the boys, studying in class X in a school in Tiruvottiyur. A total of 21 persons belonging to the family of Soundarapandian Nadar, and the wife of boatman Ansari died when the boat they were in capsized.
The collector K. Veera Raghava Rao told The Hindu that necessary steps would be taken in accordance with the law to open the house and other properties.
“The children met me on Monday. The district administration is regularly following up on these two children. Their cousin is being looked after by another relative in Chennai,” said Mr. Rao.
The siblings who are staying with their uncle K. Kamaraj in Tiruvottiyur visited the graves of their grandparents, parents and other relatives in Gummidipoondi on Sunday. Their grandfather, Soundarapandian, along with their father and uncles, used to run a shop in Gummidipoondi, which is also being kept under seal by the district administration. “Once the shop is opened we will have to settle the dues of the employees,” said the boy.
The district probation officer-cum-district protection officer M.S. Syed Rawoof said they regularly monitor the children’s progress in school and also visit their home. “The district Child Welfare Committee also monitors them,” he said.
After the incident, the seafaring fishermen and those fishing in the Pulicat lake were at loggerheads. “Even now they have still not settled the issue,” said a local.
The fishermen of Pulicat are known to take tourists on boat rides. But after the incident they have stopped the practice. “Steps are being taken to have a proper boating facility for the lake,” Mr. Rao said.