Karwar: Uttara Kannada district, which saw eight people die in a boat accident in January, has come out with strict rules to make sure that fishing boats and those ferrying people to temples meet all safety requirements with the fishing season setting in and several festivals lined up for celebration .
Deputy commissioner, Dr Harish Kumar has in a letter to the deputy director of fisheries instructed him to seize boats operating without permit. "No boat should be allowed into the water without a proper permit and also the necessary safety equipment (like life jackets) on board," he said.
"If there are any untoward incidents due to negligence you will be held responsible ," he warned.
Welcoming the move ,Jana Shakti Vedike president, Madhav Naik, said it was not enough for boats to merely carry safety jackets , but to also make sure they were made use of by their passengers. " Officials need to ensure that the boat operators give them to all the people they are ferrying. Also there should be a rescue team on standby in places where people cross rivers or the sea during festivals," he added.
It was during the annual festival at Kurumgad island in Karwar in January this year that eight people died when the boat ferrying them turned turtle at sea. Although it's common for people in the district to depend on boats to get to places of worship, neither they nor the boat owners take safety equipment like life jackets seriously. But now with the fishing season setting in and people arriving for temple festivals, the district administration is giving priority to the safety of those travelling by boats to prevent a repeat of January's tragedy.