15 January, Patna
The death toll in Patna boat tragedy has risen to 25. A boat carrying about 40 people capsized in Ganga River near NIT ghat Saturday evening. The victims were returning from Diara area after participating in a Kite festival organised by the state government on the occasion Makar Sankranti.
Rescuers have recovered the ill-fated boat from the river bed. NDRF and SDRF teams are continuing their operations to find out the missing persons. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the tragedy. A three member inquiry team headed by Principal Secretary of State Disaster Department Pratyay Amrit has been constituted. It includes Deputy Inspector General Shaleen and Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agrawal.
An FIR has been lodged against boat owner and management of an unauthorized amusement park in Sonepur police station under Saran district. The unauthorized amusement park was constructed in the Diara area of river Ganga where a large number of people had assembled to see it. The Bihar government has announced an ex-gratia of four lakh rupees to the family of each of the deceased.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief over the loss of lives in the boat accident. In a tweet, Mr Mukherjee called upon concerned authorities to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families and medical assistance to the injured.
The Prime Minister has sanctioned an ex-gratia of two lakh rupees each to the next of kin of the the deceased. Mr Modi also approved 50 thousand rupees each to the seriously injured persons from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. Prime Minister’s Office said, a programme to mark the start of redevelopment work of Mahatma Gandhi Setu in Patna, which Mr Modi was to address via video conferencing today, has also been postponed.