Thekkady boat tragedy: Probe report gathers dust

The Justice (retd) E Moideen Kunju Commission probed the Thekkady boat tragedy that left 45 dead this day three years ago.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Justice (retd) E Moideen Kunju Commission, which probed the Thekkady boat tragedy that left 45 dead this day three years ago, submitted its report on August 25, 2011. More than a year since the report was submitted, however, no action has been taken.

Justice Kunju`s report, submitted to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, indicted the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) for the boat tragedy.

The accident took place when a boat owned by the KTDC sank in the lake in the Thekkady Wild Life Reserve.

The boat had 87 people on board against its maximum capacity of 76. It was thanks to alert local people, who jumped into rescue operations that the toll did not rise beyond 45.

The judicial commission headed by Justice Kunju held those who had taken the decision to buy the boat responsible for the tragedy. The boat did not meet safety standards. Besides, the captain of the boat did not have the necessary expertise, it said.

Soon after the accident, the then VS Achuthanandan government asked the Kerala Police Crime Branch to probe the tragedy.

The police arrested KK Sanjeev, the surveyor, NA Giri, an official of the Chennai-based firm that manufactured the boat, and Victor Samuel, the skipper of the boat. The skipper`s assistant, a forest guard and Chief Boat Inspector M Mathews were also arrested.

All six are currently out of jail on bail.

After a three-month recess, boating operations resumed in the lake.

Speaking to a news agency, Chandy who is currently indisposed and recovering, said he had seen a news report about delayed action on the Thekkady tragedy on television.

"I have already asked the concerned officials to take measures soon," Chandy said.