That, however, doesn’t lessen the guilt of an apathetic State Water Transport Department (SWTD), a department with a fleet of boats all well past the repair and maintenance stage. The A-53 boat of the SWTD, with a capacity of 180, set off from Muhamma in Alapuzha district with 300 people on board. But it capsized 1 km from the jetty. Transport minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar said a judicial inquiry would be ordered and the boat’s crew placed under suspension. The government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to victims’ families.
The Muhamma-Kumarakom sector has always been a milch cow for the cash-strapped department. The revenue from three boats operating in this sector is a whopping Rs 2,42,000 a month.
Modernisation plans are yet to be implemented. Ganesh Kumar has promised to press fibre-glass boats into operation. Another case of too little too late.