Special Correspondent

The victims were on pilgrimage to Singotam for annual car festival

KURNOOL: A pall of gloom descended on Konidela, Nagatur, Nehrunagar and Bijinavemula villages in Kurnool district from where the victims of the boat tragedy on the Krishna hailed.

The kin of the victims anxiously rushed to the riverbank with the hope of hearing safety of their dear ones. All of them were on a short pilgrimage to Singotam to witness the annual car festival. According to reports, the boatman who made two sorties was reluctant for the third one but the passengers pressured him to undertake it. The boatman also lost his family, which was travelling by it.

The boatman charged Rs. 20 per head for the one and half hour journey on the placid reservoir running to a distance of nearly six km. Though flow in the river dwindled to a trickle, 163 tmcft was stocked in the reservoir up to a level of 864 ft. The depth at the mishap site is above 60 ft.

On learning about the incident, Collector M. Dana Kishore and SP B. Malla Reddy rushed to Nehru Nagar while Joint Collector Ramsankar Naik proceeded to Manchalakatta on the other side to oversee relief operations. Ace swimmers were drafted for the search of survivors and bodies.

Victim poor

Several families lost more than one of its members while the entire family of Venkateswarlu perished in the tragedy. Venkateswarlu, his wife, two daughters and one son died in the mishap. Most of the victims were poor who could not afford a road journey to reach the other side of the river.

The victims were on their way to Laxmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Singotam in Mahabub Nagar district.

They wished to witnessed the car festival of the temple in the evening.

APSRTC authorities came under criticism for not introducing mechanised boats considering the heavy traffic in the route.