Odisha boat tragedy toll goes up to 28, probe on

 The death toll in Sunday’s boat tragedy went up to 28 even as the Odisha government ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident.

The local Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) will conduct the investigation into the accident that happened at the Hirakud reservoir. The death toll is further expected to rise as many people who were in the ill-fated sunken motorboat are still missing. Besides the Sambalpur district administration officials, two senior cabinet ministers – Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patra and Finance Minister Prasana Acharya who represent Sambalpur district in the state Cabinet – are supervising the rescue operation.

“The chief minister is in New Delhi on an official visit but he is monitoring the development from there and, on his direction, two senior Cabinet ministers have been sent to the spot to supervise the search and rescue operations. A RDC level inquiry has also been ordered,” State Parliamentary Affairs and Panchayat Raj Minister Kalpataru Das said.

State Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said that apart from the local fire brigade and members of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), a team of scuba divers and a helicopter were engaged in search and rescue operation.

“We had sent a team of scuba divers from here and they have already begun their operation from early Monday morning. They have been able to locate the sunken motorboat inside the deep waters of the reservoir”, the senior official said.

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