Kalna: A FIR has been lodged against the owner of the Kalna ghat on Tuesday for the Kalna boat tragedy.
The owner, Ranjit Modak is absconding since the occurrence of the tragedy. The chairman of the Kalna municipality has submitted a written complaint against him on grounds of breaking several rules which had lead to the capsizing of the boat. It has been accused that a boat has the capacity to carry 50 people , but the capsized boat took more than 120 passengers. According to an agreement signed by him, there must be a speedboat present for every boat. But it was not present. On the basis of the complaint, an FIR has been lodged.
Till Tuesday the death toll stands as 20. The search for missing people is still on. A compensation of Rs. 2 lakh was announced on Monday for the next of kin of each of the deceased by the District Magistrate Vijay Bharti.
Trinamool Congress leader and minister Swapan Debnath visited the relatives of those admitted at the hospital and assured all help.
Alleging that the rescue operations were carried out in a slow manner, locals claimed that had the officials been more proactive, more lives could have been saved. “More than twice the permissible number of passengers boarded the boat in the presence of the police but they did not stop this,” said the relative of a missing person.
Meanwhile, 15 persons have been arrested in connection with rioting and setting several boats on fire at Shantipur in Nadia during protests on Sunday over alleged delay by the administration in initiating the rescue operations, police sources said. “Most of them are from Shantipur. They have been charged under various sections of the IPC for rioting,” Nadia SP Sheesh Ram Jhajharia said.
According to the district administration, the boat was ferrying about 55 people, much above its capacity, and overturned in the river when it was on its way back to Shantipur in Nadia district carrying passengers from a fair at Kalna in Bardhaman district on the opposite bank on Sunday.
Alleging police inaction and delay in rescue operations, an irate mob had set six boats and a waiting room on fire. They also pelted the police with stones, injuring Assistant Sub-Inspector Md Iliyas and another constable. Police had to fire rubber bullets and tear gas shells to bring the mob under control.