District Collector P. Venugopal has been authorised to prepare a report on the houseboat tragedy and place it before Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at a meeting to be held here on February 1.
The decision was taken on Monday at a meeting of houseboat owners and officials convened by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal in the wake of the houseboat tragedy that killed four persons. The report would include suggestions made at Monday’s meeting for increasing safety of passengers and preventing similar accidents from taking place.
Mr. Venugopal told reporters after the meeting that suggestions included setting up Global Positioning System (GPS) in houseboats to track them on the Vembanad lake.
A control station would be set up to which houseboat crew can send calls for help during an emergency. Houseboats without license would be seized and one final chance would be provided for houseboat owners to register their boats for license, Mr. Venugopal said.
“There are only 507 boats that have license, but boats double that number operate in the area. The Port Department has issued 40 stop memos to houseboats without license. Houseboats will be allowed to berth at the boat jetties only during the period of operation. Action will be taken against illegal tour operators and agents,” he said.
All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association general secretary N. Sreekumar told The Hindu that houseboat owners agreed to comply with the safety requirements. Sources said houseboat owners at the meeting asked for the list of safety precautions that they had to take.
A joint meeting of all organisations of houseboat owners will be held here on Tuesday following the meeting convened by the Chief Minister on February 1. The representatives of houseboat owners’ organisations said the 11 boat jetties at Punnamada finishing point were inadequate.
GPS to be set up
in houseboats to
track them on the Vembanad lake.