Kochi: The alleged conspiracy to sabotage the country’s first solar ferry boat is suspected to have begun months back. The drawings of the prototype of the solar boat ‘Aditya’ had got leaked six months ago which prompted the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) to conduct a probe and recommend action against the then mechanical department head. “The SWTD director had submitted a report recommending action against an official for allegedly leaking the prototype, that should be kept confidential, and the same is before our active consideration,” official sources said.
The SWTD authorities have approached the cops requesting a detailed probe into the leakage of the drawings and the current “sabotage” attempt. Unidentified miscreants “removed” the rudder installation at night on Wednesday last, putting in danger the lives of hundreds of passengers daily commuting in the 2.5-km section. The rudder device is used to change direction and control the boat. The SWTD has already filed a complaint with the Kottayam Superintendent of Police while terming the “sabotage attempt” as deliberate to prevent the first such venture turning into a success and the subsequent roll-out of more solar ferries.
The state had handed over a request to the Union Renewable Energy Ministry to allot funds for rolling out 10 more solar ferries on January 12. “The rudder was fastened by six bolts and won’t get loose automatically. This was testified by ‘Saraswathy Metals,’ which made the rudder installation, and also by ‘Nav Alt,’ the Kochi-based company that made the boat. Also, we suspect the sabotage attempt is being done by those who know the design of the boat as the rudder is not visible from outside,” an official of the SWTD said. Meanwhile, K. Shammy, surveyor of the Indian Registrar of Shipping, inspected the solar boat on Monday. “The probe will include the sabotage angle too. Manoeuvring tests were done and the report will be filed after covering all aspects, including technical,” he told reporters.