Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thekkady too...

It is just not right... a place frequented by so many tourists cannot be such.

Who lets them be so careless?

After every tragedy, we have shocks & tears and then we have commissions, reports and experts. Yet nothing changes. Precious lives are lost for no reason.

They say that boat capsized since the tourists moved to one side of the boat to watch the wild animals. And experts say that even if every person moves to one side, a boat meant for such trips should not capsize. I heard one survivor say on TV that it was not because the people went on one side, but that the boat turned over while the driver was taking a turn to let the tourists from both sides watch the animals. Whatever be the reason, those who came to a tourist spot to enjoy their holidays, honeymoon, school trips have been let down very badly and Kerala is mourning yet again. Having been on those boat trips many times and twice in Year 2008, I have seldom seen the boats being packed tightly. Only after the lower decks were full would they allow us to enter the upper decks and I read that for every two person in the lower deck, one person is allowed in the upper deck to keep the balance of the boat. Since I grew up in a place not far away and since as children we used to make these trips many times, never in my life time have I heard about an accident at Thekkady. The drivers have always been careful and they know the place well.

I think over the years the number of tourists has grown but sadly the authorities have not grown up in time. There were not enough life jackets and I think this particular boat was not tested right. We heard the current Chairman of KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) say that this new boat was built in Chennai and that it had the necessary license but was it right for Thekkady?

As usual, we now read that the Safety Inspectors have not been inspecting right. And now we will have commissions and enquiries and reports. Enough and more money will be spent on these exercises while no concrete steps will be taken to prevent more such accidents.

Sadly Thekkady has now lost its innocence and many like me and my family will not dare make a boat trip in Thekkady.. but does the authorities care?


  1. I saw the news on TV.
    Sad to hear that these incidents happen in kerala.

    Also I feel sorry for the families who met with the accident. As being resident to Kerala I feel we must ensure security of the tourists...

    The day is not far when people would fear coming to kerala...

  2. An avoidable tragedy. Such tragedies keep happening largely because unscrupulous people cut corners and/or take bribes to produce goods that are inferior and not as per specifications. In the instant case, it is quite likely, as you have mentioned, that greedy boat makers and inspectors have blood on their hands. If so, they are guilty of murder.

    But, like always, nothing substantial will come out to nail anyone in such manner. Those investigating are usually as greedy as those being investigated. They will extract their pound of blood money and the matter will die...

  3. I was told that there were no safety measures available which was one reason for the unfortunate deaths.

  4. Abhilash: Yes... if the authorities dont wake up then we shall have no more tourists... the Vembanad lake is another case.. the safety measures are upto the crew members only, while there are no real authorities to ensure the same....

    Vinod: Yes.. it is only greed and now i read that tickets were being issued on the side.. which means there are "ticketless" passengers too which adds to the total number of passengers per boat..but things were better earlier.. and even though there was a lack of safety measures in the form of life jackets, the crew members themselves were careful .... anyway the boat trips have been stopped by the central govt. until further action has been taken..

    BKC: yes.. if life jackets were used more lives could have been saved..nd now only the driver and the helper has been sacked whereas ideally they should transfer/suspend every personnel involved and even the KTDC Chairman should resign..

  5. Totally agree with you whole heartedly. The problem here is of accountability. So many versions come out that the truth gets obfuscated. I think this is being done on purpose so that the culprits go a way scot-free, and yes the people responsible should be booked for murder as a deterant against such negligence.

  6. Health and safety in all facets of life is paramount in the west, but the value of human life is still too small in the east. For this to change, for people to take care of their own tools of trade, is going to take a while and unless the administrators & people change or mend their ways, it will continue.

    if a common man gladly pays 100/- and get a pollution certificate (instead of tuning the engine for 500/-) for your car.. then you know where the problem is, lack of civic responsibility at all levels..

    accidents bound to happen will happen, like bridges falling, trains crashing, planes falling from the sky etc.. today dame luck keeps the system propped up...

    Vinod sharma is very right...

  7. i read that several of the necessary qualifications of the boat like its weight, the water/load lines etc were to adequate for such a trip with that many people.

  8. As the paul muthoot case , the media will celebrate this tragedy also for some weeks.Afterwards everyone will forget about this(exactly same thing happend in kumarakom few years back.still they never learned anything from that).it is really a frustating situvation.What to do, our 'responsible' politicians are highly laid back and irresponsible goons.Lets hope our officials will learn a lesson from this and take appropriate measure to prevent this kinda incidents in future

  9. between U r from idduki....nice :)

  10. It is indeed so sad and so scary. Our govt authorities attitude is so pathetic. It confounds me that such lapses occur at all.

    'Enough and more money will be spent on these exercises while no concrete steps will be taken to prevent more such accidents.' - Exactly! They will just order inquiry commissions which will be forgotten in a few months time.. Concrete measures - are we joking?

  11. Anish: yes.. our media enjoys serving us “breaking news” and keeps the same alive just enough and then drops it for the next juicy one.. I wish they would keep up the tempo until the authorities are forced to act..
    I grew up in the district of Idukki (Peerumade – Kuttikanam)so I guess I cannot claim that I am from Idukki :)
    and which is this small town that you claim to come from?

    Smitha: wish things were different.. now there is a case against the current KTDC Chairman and others in the court.. don’t know which route it will take…. As you can see, when it is very clear that the boat itself had a manufacturing defect, they have taken action only against the driver and his helper… nd the person who designed the boat says that he was not consulted during or after the boat was made functional and hence he cannot be made accountable… guess in the end like the Peruman train accident one should blame nature and let it pass..

    when will we ever learn from our mistakes and discard the no-care attitude?

  12. I'm from Kottarkara(Proper kundara) ----- Kollam district :D ....heard abt the place :)

    Heard about Peerumade – Kuttikanam...some of my friends studied in carmel and marian college over there.Heard it is a very beautiful place..i have never been there

  13. Of course I know Kottarakara... cant forget the "Potti" hotel...used to break our journey at Kottarakara while using MC road to reach Tvm.. I still love that road over the NH.. more beautiful.. heard that the Malaysian co has done a good job.. havnt gone through that road since a long time...

    as for Kundara.. this phrase comes to my mind..

    Kundara is a wonderful country under the cotrol of the Indian Govt.. dont know why this was popular during my growing up years.. have u heard it?

  14. Gosh potti hotel is that much famous is one of the oldest hottel in Kollam district.Dad used to take me there when i was small.Masala dosa over there is chanceless.Try indian cofee house also(though can't compare it with tvm coffee house....)

    pathy(malaysian company) done a good job.But still the road has to improve a lot (from kottayam to ayoor).I love NH(thanks to alappee beaches and backwaters) compared to MC road.
    Kundara is a wonderful country heard about it first time,searched in net now,thanks for telling it :).Kundra has a historical importance coz Veluthambi Dalava came here and did famous kundra proclamation :)

  15. My thoughts remain with those who lost their loved ones but when are we going to study. Now there is media hype and some investigations ongoing but things will be back to square one once we forget about this.

    If not, Thekkady shouldn't have happened after Kumarakam tragedy. What have we learned this time? Or how much more blood do we need on our hands before we decide "its enough".

  16. Maddy: dont know why I did not thank you for your comments.. guess it is because you are absolutely correct :)
    but then I would also like to remind that Thekkady never had an accident and there was some sort of system that used to work.. IMO the boat is to be blamed and all those officials who by-passed the safety procedures before the boat was made lake-worthy.

    Anish: am surprised that the Hotel is still there.. it was during our long trips to TVM either from MVK or Peerumade that we made a break at Kottarakkara (many many years back as a child :)..

    Scorpio: maybe the authorities will play but the public will be more vigilant and when the purse gets the pinch they will act..

  17. People have forgotten about thekkady now and we do not hear of any actions too..

    Another accident should happen for the govt to open its eyes..



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