Balugan: Four months after the death of six tourists in Chilika lake, the Khurda district administration has allowed ferry boats for touring purpose.
Considering that the footfall of tourists picks up from November and continues till the onset of the monsoon, the ban order has been lifted.
The Chilika Motor Boat Owners’ Association has welcomed the decision.
It may be mentioned here that the district administration had imposed the ban after six persons met a watery grave after a country boat in which they were travelling capsized in the lake on June 16.
During the investigation, it was found that that the boat had no life-saving kit. The district administration later made it a mandatory provision and directed the boat owners’ association to ensure adequate number of life jackets for passengers and keep the boat in proper shape with fibre coating to prevent leakage of water. It had also asked them to timely renew their registration and licence.
Acting on the directive, the boat owners had made all necessary arrangements and sought permission from the administration to ferry their boats in the lake.
The tragic incident had taken place when the ill-fated country boat carrying 16 tourists hailing from Sarankul and Ranpur of Nayagarh district, Jharpada of Bhubaneswar, Narasinghpur in Cuttack district and Balugaon in Ganjam district, from Kalijai temple, capsized midway due to sudden strong wind and thundershowers.
Some local fishermen of the nearby area, where the mishap took place, managed to rescue seven tourists and retrieve two bodies.
Later, a fire brigade team rushed to the spot and rescued three tourists in the evening. Since it was not possible to trace the other missing passengers in the night, a joint search operation was carried out the following day by 50 Fire brigade staff, 40 personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 16 Scuba divers, local fishermen and Navy personnel in which four bodies were fished out of the lake.