The Kerala High Court on Tuesday criticised the state government and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation for not taking sufficient protective measures to avert the Thekkady lake boat tragedy that claimed the life of 45 tourists.
Granting bail to the five accused, including the boat driver, Justice K. T. Shankaran expressed dissatisfaction over the infrastructure provided to conduct safety tests on boats.
“The state of Kerala has witnessed several boat accidents. After the incidents, we start lamenting. Then we indulge in finding who is responsible for it. Sometimes a commission may be appointed. Nobody knows what happens to the commission report,” the court said.
The court said prima facie the tender to construct the boat ‘Jalakanyka’ was given without scientific study. .
“The required safety checks were not carried out. It has been reported that there was a 2.9 degree slant in the boat,” the court said.
Those granted bail included boat driver, Victor Samuel, sub crew Lasker Anish, gatekeeper P. Prakash, Director of Vignesh Marine Services, Chennai, N. A. Giri and Chief Surveyor of Indian Registrar of Ships, K. K. Sajeev. They have been asked to deposit a bail bond of Rs. 15,000 each and two solvent sureties for a like amount.
The Court directed the accused to cooperate with the investigation and appear before the Investigating Officer on alternate Mondays.
The tourist boat owned by the State owned Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) capsized while ferrying over 70 tourists in the Thekkady lake on September 30.