With heightened security measures and reduced number of seats, boat services for tourists in the Mullaperiyar lake in Thekkady was restarted on Friday.
Three boats owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) and two boats of the Forest Department conducted the services and the tourists, mostly from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other countries travelled in the boats though the number of passengers was less than the revised number of seats allotted in the boats.
The boat services had been cancelled in the lake after a boat tragedy on September 30, which killed 45 passengers.
Life jackets have been made mandatory for passengers in addition to life buoys, fire-resting machines, fire bucket, hand-box and mandatory tourist guidelines before each journey begins. Another security aspect is the appointment of a life-guard each for 25 tourists. The life guards were posted after a month's training on rescue operation and they will also help the tourists to adhere to the security norms.
The KTDC's Jalaraja, Jalatharangini and Jalamohini and the forest department' s Vanajotsna and Periyar started the services witnessed by the officials of forest and other departments, people's representatives and the general public.
The number of seats in the forest department’s boats has been reduced from 80 to 75 while a 200-seater KTDC boat was reduced to a capacity of 60; a 60-seater to 40 and 40 to 20.
All the boats re-launched on Friday stopped at Marakkanam, where the KTDC boat ‘Jalakanyaka’ sank and the crew and the tourists paid a silent homage to the departed souls of the accident victims.