A private operator’s “greed” led to the capsizing of a boat in the Krishna river on Sunday evening, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said on Monday. The government has formed a two-member panel to investigate the incident, which killed 20 people, The Indian Express reported.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Naidu said that the operator did not have permission to operate the ferry service. “The driver was not experienced and had no knowledge of the route,” he said. “They behaved so irresponsibly and caused the mishap.”
Seventeen passengers who were rescued have been sent home after treatment, while four are still in hospital, Naidu said. Several others may still be missing, officials said.
The boat was on its first trip, the Hindustan Times reported, quoting Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya. “The boat belonging to a private agency River Boating Adventure Company had entered the waters only on Sunday,” she said. “It made a couple of trial runs in the river in the morning.” The tourism minister said the vessel’s owner had not secured the required permissions from the irrigation and tourism departments.
A criminal case has been filed against the owner of the boat.
Earlier, the state’s Home Minister N Chinnarajappa had told The Indian Express that the vessel had capsized minutes before its arrival at the Vijayawada jetty. The group travelling on it were out on a picnic.