Probe sought into accident

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: A detailed inquiry should be made into the incident where a berth at Cochin Port caved in, apparently due to overload, K. Chandran Pillai, Rajya Sabha member and president of the Cochin Port Employees' Organisation, said here today.

The accident happened because of violation of rules and regulations regarding unloading of consignments at the port, he said. Materials such as salt should be unloaded directly onto trucks and moved to godowns.

Contrary to this rule, the consignment was directly unloaded on to the berth and kept there. Overloading led to the disaster, which is the first of its kind in the history of the port, Mr. Pillai said in a press release here.

The management at the port had been ignoring security norms, as part of its liberalisation policies. Though the labourers had been protesting against this, the management did not pay heed to suit the cause of ship agents, he alleged.

The consignments are often unloaded directly to the berth to enable speedy return of ships. The authorities at the port are not taking any interest in moving out the thus unloaded consignment in a time-bound manner, he said. As a result, the port is losing much revenue on accounts of wharfage and other related accounts, he said.

Steps should be taken to ensure that similar accidents do not occur again. Reconstruction of the damaged berth should be taken up on a war-footing, besides initiating a comprehensive inquiry into the incident, Mr. Pillai demanded.

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