The Government will order a judicial enquiry into the boat tragedy at Thekkady in Kerala, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said here on Thursday. Addressing a press conference here, the Chief Minister said that the services of a sitting judge would be sought for the probe.

The Government will order a judicial enquiry into the boat tragedy at Thekkady in Kerala, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said here on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference here, the Chief Minister said that the services of a sitting judge would be sought for the probe.

The Chief Minister also announced that Rs. 5 lakhs would be provided to the next of kin of each of the dead in the accident. The Government would meet the expenses for sending the bodies to their homes and the travel expenses of those who survived the accident. Arrangements were being made for post mortem of the bodies.

Asked about the failure of the government to act on the recommendations of enquiry commission that probed two previous boat accidents, the Chief Minister said that the all the three accidents had not occurred under similar circumstances. Each accident has to be considered separately.

He said that all recommendations of the enquiry commissions could not be acted upon. Each recommendation had to be considered on its merit. Only common recommendations for safety could be carried out. Some of the recommendations had already been acted upon. The remaining recommendations would be examined and whatever is required immediately would be done.

Asked why the Government had not appointed a Safety Commissioner as recommended by the Justice Narayana Kurup who had probed the Kumarakom accident, the Chief Minister said that action had been taken in tune with the spirit of the recommendations. It had decided to provide insurance cover to passengers of boat services (run by the State Road Transport Corporation). Directions had been issued that all boats should have safety certificates.

The Chief Minister said that the tragedy was painful and shocking. According to the available information, the accident had occurred when the visitors and tourists moved to one side of the boat to see wild animals. The judicial probe would bring out the truth.

Mr. Achuthanandan later left for Thekkady to visit the accident spot and hospitals providing medical assistance to the victims.

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