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Safety norms to be enforced

Special Correspondent
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Curbs on issue of licences to houseboats for want of jetties, says K. Babu

Safety lapse: (Clockwise from top left) All Seasons, the house boat that sank at Alappuzha on Saturday; Manoj is inconsolable after his wife Rohini and 14-year-old daughter Sushmita were killed in the accident; Pandidurai too lost his wife Sudheshini and 5-year-old girl Ilakya; rescue operations in progress. — Photos: Thulasi Kakkat and PTI
Safety lapse: (Clockwise from top left) All Seasons, the house boat that sank at Alappuzha on Saturday; Manoj is inconsolable after his wife Rohini and 14-year-old daughter Sushmita were killed in the accident; Pandidurai too lost his wife Sudheshini and 5-year-old girl Ilakya; rescue operations in progress. — Photos: Thulasi Kakkat and PTI

: The government will ensure stricter enforcement of safety rules and licensing norms for houseboats in the wake of the accident in Alappuzha.

Minister for Fisheries and Ports K. Baby said here on Saturday that a conference of officials of the Ports Department would be held in Alappuzha on Sunday to discuss the matter, as directed by him. This will be followed by a conference chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Alappuzha on February 1. Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar will also attend the conference besides senior officials of the government.

The Minister said in a statement here that the government proposed to restrict issuing of licences to houseboats in the State in view of the shortage of boat jetties. The Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Kozhikode, had been asked to study the carrying capacity of the Vembanad Lake.

Mr. Babu said stricter provisions would be made for safety of passengers on houseboats. The Inland Vessels Rules would be amended for this, if necessary. Besides, the licensing provisions would be made stringent. He said that the government proposed to set up a dry docking yard each in the boat jetties at Kumarakom and Alappuzha in view of the increase in number of houseboats. Tenders had already been invited for this. The proposed marina at Alappuzha would be redesigned to accommodate more boats. Alappuzha now had 600 house boats while Kumarakom had 150.

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