How safe are tourists taking Papikondalu trip in lounge boats?

How safe are tourists taking Papikondalu trip in lounge boats?
Highlights

Sunday’s boat mishap in the Krishna River that claimed 19 lives is causing severe anxiety among tourists visiting famous picnic spots of Papikondalu and Perantalapalli along the Godavari on boats, as they too face the threat of similar accidents. Their fears are not unfounded as around 10 persons visiting Papikondalu and Perantalapalli drowned in the Godavari in the past as the launch operators ig

Kothagudem: Sunday’s boat mishap in the Krishna River that claimed 19 lives is causing severe anxiety among tourists visiting famous picnic spots of Papikondalu and Perantalapalli along the Godavari on boats, as they too face the threat of similar accidents. Their fears are not unfounded as around 10 persons visiting Papikondalu and Perantalapalli drowned in the Godavari in the past as the launch operators ignored full-scale safety measures.

Although there was a semblance of supervision over running of boat services in the unified State, it appears to have been given a go-by in the recent past considering accidents like in the Kolluru Hills area where two persons died. Also, there were many instances of the vessels getting stuck in sand in the Godavari. Usually the river flow pushes the boats forward. Fortunately, no deaths have occurred in such instances as they were pulled to safety by other vessels.

The absence of cell signals in Papikondalu and Perantalapalli areas is also proving to be a hindrance for tourists’ safety. If such facility is available, they could get in touch with officials in Bhadrachalam in Telangana and East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh in case of exigencies. There is a possibility of conveying information only if they manage to reach Rajamahendravaram.

Scope for accidents always increases when the ferry operators carry more than the stipulated passengers (over 200 as against the permitted 150 in big vessels and 80 in the case of smaller ones) to make money. Also, erection of grills in boats, as per guidelines and as supply of life jackets are ignored thus leaving the passengers to a grave risk.

The boat operators usually deploy expert swimmers, who can rescue passengers in the event of an accident. Such measures should be taken to provide a safe journey to those travelling in boats, a tourist P Chandrasekhar told The Hans India. Usually devotees coming to Rama temple in Bhadrachalam take a boat ride to bath in the Godavari. The boat operators take persons more than the capacity allowed making them sitting ducks in the absence of life jackets. Who takes the responsibility of such mishaps, question some travelers.

Keeping these aspects in view, district BJP secretary V Raju has appealed to the administration to initiate action in ensuring safety of those travelling to Parnashala, Kinnerasani in Bhadradri-Kothagudem and Palair in Khammam districts.

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