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Cruise boats care a hoot for safety

Cruise boats care a hoot for safety
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Safety of tourists travelling on the cruise boats running on the River Godavari between Rajahmundry and Bhadrachalam is hanging in balance as the greedy operators are overloading the cruise boats. According to Irrigation officials at Dowlaiswaram, the licensing authority, 11 cruise boats from Purushothapatnam in East Godavari and 25 boats from Kunavaram have been given permission to ply for tourism purposes with a seating capacity of 60 to 90 tourists.

Overloading makes Godavari sailing risky

Hyderabad: Safety of tourists travelling on the cruise boats running on the River Godavari between Rajahmundry and Bhadrachalam is hanging in balance as the greedy operators are overloading the cruise boats. According to Irrigation officials at Dowlaiswaram, the licensing authority, 11 cruise boats from Purushothapatnam in East Godavari and 25 boats from Kunavaram have been given permission to ply for tourism purposes with a seating capacity of 60 to 90 tourists. But, in gross violation of these rules, the private operators have been offering tourist packages fetching about 100, 120 and 150 tourists on board, according to Deputy Engineer Rathan Raj.

Most of the tourists travelling on these cruise boats have been spending their time at the famous Papikondalu and in some resorts built for promoting tourism around the River Godavari as a package. The resorts were located at Kolluru and another one between Kortur and Siri Vagu spot. However, following the notification of Papi Hills National Park (PHNP), in an extent of 1012.85 km covering East Godavari, West Godavari and Khammam, the private resorts at Kolluru were asked to close its operations.

The Siri Vagu eco tourism project too falls within the (PHNP). However, the forest officials could not ask it to shut down, as it has been run by the ITDA, as a livelihood project for local tribals. Since it is the lone tourist spot with resorts facility, people from faraway places have been flocking to this area. To cash on this, private firms have appointed their agents in cities like Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam and other places offering different kinds of packages, which include an overnight stay in these resorts.

This promotion has led to increase in the tourist inflows to this area and every day about 30 cruise boats meet the tourist rush. The loan boat inspector has given a jurisdiction of more than 300 km in the river to check for violation of norms.But, it is impossible to check plying boats with single boat inspector. However, occasionally police from Polavaram carry out checks for any illegal activities. “But, we have no authority to act on the violation or deviation of norms of license,” a local police official told to The Hans India.

By:VRC Phaniharan

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