'Overcrowded' boat capsizes in East Midnapore river
Kolkata: Many persons went missing after a motorboat capsized in Rupnarayan river at Mahisadal in East Midnapore on Monday morning. It is alleged that the boat capsized because of overloading. State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said the ferry service on the Rupnarayan river was illegal.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) was informed about the incident. ICG officials arrived at the spot with a hovercraft, which was used for rescue operation.
According to a source, on Monday, around 9:30 am, a motorboat, allegedly carrying passengers beyond its capacity, started from Mayachar to reach Amritberia in Mahisadal.
After a few minutes it started its journey from Mayachar, the boat lost balance after being hit by high tides. Local residents of Mahisadal said the boat was overcrowded and therefore it lost balance and capsized which was witnessed by many people ashore. According to the police, the motorboat hit a sand-head in the middle of the river and got stuck. It is also said at the same time, high tides suddenly hit the boat and it capsized.
Shyampur police station under Howrah Rural Police was informed because there were chances that people, who went missing, could be spotted on their side.
In the afternoon, around 2 pm, the capsized boat was located at Sasati area at Shyampur in Howrah but no passenger was seen.
It is alleged that a man, identified as Lakshman Pal, ran the illegal ferry service and flouted safety norms that are prescribed by the state government.
State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said the ferry service was illegal. The minister asked Inland Watersways officials to lodge complaint against Pal. A complaint was lodged against Pal on Monday evening.
"The ferry service on Rupnarayan river was illegal. State government is taking stern action against such illegal ferry services. An FIR has been lodged in this regard," said Adhikari.
Superintendent of Police of East Midnapore V Solomon Nesakumar said on Monday that altogether 37 persons have been recovered. "So far only one person is said to be missing. 37 persons, who have been rescued, are fine. Search operation is going on to find other missing person," he said.
Police are claiming that only one person is missing but local residents claim several more persons have gone missing. According to local residents, there were 50 people on the boat around the time it capsized.
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