The increasing incidents of drowning in the Periyar near Aluva have exposed the lack of a proper mechanism to prevent such incidents.
Though there is no official data, the number of drowning incidents has gone up in the recent past. The gaps in the rescue efforts by the Department of Fire and Rescue Services came to the fore when a 50-year-old man allegedly jumped to death in the river with his two children from the Manappuram footbridge in Aluva on June 4.
Though local residents along with personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services had fished them out within 30 minutes, the lack of an ambulance with oxygen support came as a hindrance in rushing them to the nearby hospital.
The ambulance at the fire station in Aluva has not been in a running condition for nearly two months. The efforts to deploy the two rescue boats, stationed near the jetty close to the Aluva palace guest house, in the rescue operations failed owing to a technical snag. The department also lacked trained drivers to operate the boats.
K. Harikumar, District Fire Officer, said that necessary directions had been issued to the company that supplied the boats to carry out immediate service of the two rescue boats. On the lack of drivers in the department to operate the boats, the official pointed out that most personnel were capable of operating it despite not having the licence issued by the Department of Ports. The department would soon have licensed personnel to handle the rescue boats, he said.
Anwar Sadath, MLA representing Aluva, has requested Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to appoint either drivers on contract basis or provide training to the department personnel in operating the rescue boats.