Staff Reporter

Boat owners allege vengeance by officials

ALAPPUZHA: The Alappuzha House Boat Owners' Samithi (AHBOS) has said that the delay of officials concerned to inspect boats and issue licences on time even months after houseboat owners applied for licences and remitted money for the same was the real reason for the presence of house boats without proper licences here.

Samithi president Mony Mancombu and secretary Varghese Antony said that a large number of houseboat owners had been waiting for months after paying fees to get their fitness certificates renewed by the chief inspector of boats.

Mr. Mony said officials of the State Pollution Control Board were insisting that houseboats fix bio-septic tanks of particular companies, instead of specifying the quality. He alleged that the officials who said that unlicenced houseboat services were going on in Alappuzha did not carry out inspection in the last several years and were now acting with a vengeance.

The Samithi leaders said the complaint of lack of adequate staff raised by the officials did not hold ground as irrigation officials had inspected around 70 houseboats in three days recently. There were only 350 houseboats in the district and they could have easily carried out the inspection, Mr. Mony said.

The authorities had not granted licence to a large number of houseboat crew even two years after they had applied for it. The Samithi leaders demanded a single window system for houseboat owners for getting various licences.