Bihar boat tragedy toll mounts to 24, FIR filed; Oppn blames govt
As the toll in boat tragedy in river Ganga here climbed to 24, the opposition on Sunday blamed alleged mismanagement and negligence at a government-organised event for the incident while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered a high-level inquiry.
An FIR was filed with Sonepur police station against persons running an entertainment park at Sabalpur diara and boat operators for illegally ferrying passengers between Saran and Patna districts after the boat capsized yesterday near NIT ghat as it was apparently overcrowded with revellers returning from a kite festival organised by tourism department on occasion of Makar Sankranti festival.
However, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that there was an attempt to cover-up the “negligence” of state government. He claimed that there were inadequate number of boats to ferry the people for the event.
But after the FIR has been lodged, it seems that the incident took place only because of the entertainment park, which had not even started, he said, adding “to hide their incapability the government has given a new twist to the incident”.
State Tourism Minister Anita Devi rejected suggestions that adequate arrangements had not been made by the department for the event and sought to blame private boat operators for the tragedy.
“We had made all arrangements and informed local authorities in writing. But there were some private boat operators,” she said.
“We are saddened by this terrible tragedy and are with the families in this hour of grief. The Chief Minister has announced ex-gratia....
“He has ordered a high-level probe into the incident and directed that strict action should be taken against those responsible for any lapses,” the Tourism Minister said.