The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to provide insurance cover to the passengers and crew of boat services run by the State Water Transport Department.
Transport Minister Jose Thettayil said in an official release here that the scheme, to be implemented in collaboration with the National Insurance Company, would have an outlay of Rs. 1 crore. It provided for payment of Rs. 1 lakh, in case of a death in a boat accident, to the next of kin of the deceased. The payment would be the same for permanent disability.
The Minister said that the package provided for a maximum insurance cover of Rs. 25 lakhs per accident. The premium payable by the Department would be Rs. 30,000 a year. The insurance company would meet the balance of the premium, treating it as a commitment to social security.
Mr. Thettayil said that the company authorities had said that the plan could be renewed after a year despite the total cost of Rs. 1 crore.
He noted that the Department operated 889 trips under 47 schedules every day. About 40000 passengers used the services every day.
He recalled that the Justice Narayana Kurup Commission that enquired into the Kumarakom boat accident had recommended insurance cover for passengers. However, the project could be completed only now. Compensation claims relating to the Kumarakom accident on July 27, 2002 and the Thattekkad boat tragedy on February 20, 2007 were still pending before courts. Under such circumstances, the insurance scheme was of special relevance.