The Public Works Department (PWD) did not have permission for two vessels that ferried people to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial site on October 24, when one person drowned after a speedboat capsized, The Indian Express has learnt.
While it was earlier reported that the vessel which capsized did not have the requisite permission, replies and documents received from Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by The Indian Express show that permission was not granted to two other boats as well. This indicates that out of a total of four boats which were used for the occasion, three did not have the required permission.
Following the mishap, the state government had blamed the wrong route taken by the fourth speedboat that led to the mishap and had ordered a probe in the matter.
The PWD had sought permission for two boats to ferry people from a jetty at Gateway of India to the proposed site of the memorial. “No permission has been granted,” state the replies received under RTI from the MbPT and MMB.
However, there appear to be some discrepancies with regard to the granting of permission. The letter provided by MbPT shows it had mentioned that permission was to be granted subject to certain equipment. But the letter provided by PWD shows the remark that “Approved. Inform to MbPT Harbour Master”.
PWD officials refused to speak on the matter while MbPT officials maintained that it did not grant permission.
The documents received from MbPT show that its Deputy Conservator had remarked that “permission to be granted subject to following equipments” and listed out four equipments such as “Very High Frequency set, Automated Identification System, chart and master in possession of valid certificate and life jacket.”
“It was clearly mentioned that the permission was subject to be granted but it was not granted. The vessels required permissions from both MbPT and MMB to reach the project site. It was wrong on their part to go without the permission in the sea,” said an MbPT official on condition of anonymity. The records also show that the PWD got the permission from the Mumbai Police for the drone camera shooting of the event.