Patna boat tragedy: PM Modi announces ex gratia of 2 lakh; death toll rises to 24

The bodies of four more persons were recovered on Sunday from the river Ganga taking the toll in the boat tragedy in Patna to 24.

Around 40 people were said to be on-board the country boat when it capsised near NIT ghat on Saturday evening.

When asked whether there could be more bodies lying in the river, Principal Secretary (Disaster Management) Pratyaya Amrit told PTI that hopes were fading, but rescue works by the SDRF/NDRF teams were still going on.

"No more family has come forward to claim about missing kin in the boat tragedy," he said.

The revellers were returning to Ranighat in Patna from Sabalpur diara (riverine area) across the river after watching a kite festival on the occasion of 'Makar Sankranti'.

The boat had been retrieved from the Ganga, the senior official said adding it was intact in one piece.

According to reports, an FIR has been lodged against the boat operator as the number of people onboard the vessel were more than its capacity. The operator survived the incident.

The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

A few on the ill-fated boat swam to safety, while some families said their fellow members had gone missing after the accident. Nine persons have been admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital. The search has been called off for the night due to darkness, officials said. Family members of the deceased and those missing were seen wailing at the ghat. Sources told PTI that the tragedy was suspected to have been caused by overloading.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief over the tragedy and ordered a probe.

Kumar ordered cancellation of all subsequent events to organised in the diara (riverine) area as part of the Makar Sankranti festivities.

The kite festival from where the victims were returning was scheduled to continue for the next three days.

Bihar JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh said the JD(U) feast on Sunday, to which BJP leaders were invited for the first time since 2013 when the two allies had parted ways, also stood cancelled. The CM has instructed senior officials to seek details about the programme as to whether proper arrangements were made for the event, an official statement said. Kumar was closely monitoring the situation, it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sanctioned Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in Patna boat tragedy from the PM National Relief Fund.

Those seriously injured will be given Rs 50,000 each, the PMO said.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jan 15, 2017 12:48:01 IST