There are a number of boat mishaps reported in Andhra Pradesh killing innocent people in dozens. There was one in December last in Vijayawada in Krishna River. There was one this week in Godavari river in East Godavari district. The two incidents have seen the death of more than 20 people. But the attitude of the government or the approach of the administration towards these boats has not changed.
There are a number of boats operated in Krishna and Godavari rivers where people use them for their daily travel. Blame it on the successive governments for not constructing bridges across the rivers even after 70 years of Independence. The governments which have failed to provide alternative transport to cross the rivers are talking big about water transportation. What people are using is not the water transportation mechanism or tourist promotion mode, but a compulsory required transportation. They use the boats for their needs, not for entertainment or not as an alternative.
The government should first think of constructing bridges across the rivers for the people to have a dedicated road transport network. They can take the water transport as an alternative, but not to depend on it.
The water transportation mechanism requires a thorough inspection of the boats operated – the strength and quality of the boats, the expertise of the drivers and the safety equipment. They should also insist on the load capacity for every boat before it sets on to move in the water. The overloaded boats and unskilled drivers (sailors) are the two reasons. The boat drivers should also be aware of the course of the rivers, the flow of the water, the depth and curves of the passages to make the assessment of the flow of the water and the nature of the boat’s movement in the flow with the load of passengers.
The government is allowing even unlicensed boats to be operated in the water in the two rivers leading to the mishaps and causing the death of innocent people. There is no check and monitoring from the officials who enjoy the kickbacks from the boat operators.
Krishna River accident happened in December last. The government had appointed a committee to study the reasons and submit a report. Even before it could get the report, the mishap occurred in Godavari killing people again. If this goes on, the government is set to drown for its own mistakes.