A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday adjourned to October 26 the hearing on a suo motu case initiated in the wake of the Tanur boat tragedy.
When the case came up for hearing, amicus curiae, VM Syam Kumar submitted that the State government has filed a report enumerating various measures taken to prevent the operation of unauthorized tourist boats and avert such a tragedy in future. The inquiry commissions appointed into three boat accidents had suggested various steps to prevent boat accidents. However, the question that remains is how far the suggestions of the commissions were being implemented at the ground level.
Tourist boats in Kollam
Meanwhile, the court of Justice Devan Ramachandran has directed the Kollam District Disaster Management Authority to conduct an inspection of tourist boats operating in Kollam with the assistance of the Kollam Port Officer and file a report on whether any unauthorized boats were operating to Sambranikodi Island.
The court passed the order on a writ petition filed by the Kollam DTPC Contract Boat Owners and Staff Association. The petitioner alleged that various persons are operating boat services without authorization, even after converting fishing boats into passenger boats, without obtaining any licenses or clearances; and that an accident, as we saw in the recent past at Tanur, cannot be ruled out. Though they had brought the serious issue to the notice of the District Collector and other officials, no action had been taken.
The court observed that If, what was stated by the petitioner was true, then certainly it is a matter that should obtain the urgent attention of the competent authority. The District Collector, who is also the Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority, had a definite role to play in this regard, as also the Port Officer and the Station House Officer in the area, the court said.