Millennium Post

Rowers' death: KMDA to probe to see if protocols were followed

KOLKATA: Three days after two teenage rowers drowned to death at Rabindra Sarobar during a storm that struck the city, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the custodian of the lake, said it would conduct an inquiry to find out if existing protocols were being adhered to by the rowing clubs.

A top KMDA official said that steps would be taken to prevent recurrence of such accidents in the future."We regularly ask the representatives of the four rowing clubs to adhere to the protocols. After Saturday tragedy, we have decided to hold an inquiry to find out if there was any laxity on the part of the authorities," KMDA CEO Antara Acharya said.

She explained that all clubs have been told to teach the rowers safety drill in case of a calamity, besides deploying battery-operated rescue boats for any exigency and ensuring presence of divers and rescuers at practice sessions. KMDA officials would be meeting with the representatives of the rowing clubs in a day or two as part of the inquiry, Acharya said.

Asked if the diesel-operated rescue boat that was removed in tune with the National Green Tribunal recommendations would have come handy during the storm, she said, "Rabindra Sarobar has a rich bio-diversity. Bearing all environmental guidelines in mind, we have to lay a roadmap that would guarantee all-round safety."

Two 14-year-old students of South Point School drowned in the lake on Saturday during a rowing practice session as their boat capsized in the midst of a Nor'wester.Four rowing clubs operate on Rabindra Sarobar in the southern part of the city. The deceased students were undergoing training sessions on the part operated by Lake Club.

Krishna Damani, the spokesperson of South Point High School, said that this incident was a "wake-up call for all of us"."Everyone in the South Point family is devastated. Our teachers are in touch with the members of the rowing teams, counselling them. The students were practising for the finals of Inter School Regatta, which has been put on hold following the accident," he added.

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