At least 11 persons, including women and children, drowned while two others were reported missing after a boat capsized in Chambal river in Kota district on Wednesday morning, police said.
District Collector Ujjwal Rathore said that the boat was mainly carrying devotees who were headed to Kamleshwar temple in adjacent Bundi district.
“There were a total of 32 persons on the boat, as well as about 13-14 motorcycles,” Rathore told The Indian Express. “It was locally-made jugaad boat and was overloaded. It capsized at a little distance from the shore hence some managed to swim back or were rescued,” he said.
Rathore and Kota Rural SP Sharad Choudhary reached Gothada village, under Khatoli police station limits, where the incident happened. Choudhary said that “the boat capsized around 8 – 8:15 am. So far, of the 32, 19 persons have been rescued while 11 bodies have been retrieved and handed over to their relatives. As per our information, two people are missing and the search is on to locate them.”
Area DSP Shubhkaran said the bodies were handed over to families after autopsy and they have lodged a case against the boat’s Sailor and owner.
Rathore said that of the 11 bodies which have been retrieved, six are men, four are women and one is of a child.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, while terming the incident sad and unfortunate, announced Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of each deceased. He also instructed the district officials to speed up the relief and rescue efforts.
Expressing grief over the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Anguished by the capsizing of a boat in Kota, Rajasthan. My thoughts are with those who have lost their near and dear ones.’
Lok Sabha Speaker and Kota MP Om Birla also expressed his grief over the incident. He tweeted that the Lok Sabha Secretariat is in touch with the district administration to speed up relief efforts.
Local Congress MLA Ramnarayan Meena expressed sorrow over the tragedy and demanded that the relief amount be increased.
“I have written to CM Ashok Gehlot to increase the compensation,” Meena told PTI, alleging that negligence by local officials resulted in the mishap.
When local officials were aware of the movement of the boat, they should have informed their seniors, he said.— with PTI inputs