'Firm at reef should have informed district admin'

Khader instructs DC, Port Dept to probe barge case

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies U T Khader said that he has ordered a probe into the failure of the firm working on the off-shore reef to inform the district administration on the incident of the barge.

The minister, who is also the legislator from Ullal, has directed the Port Department and Deputy Commissioner to investigate the matter.

The barge belongs to Dharti Infrastructure company under Mumbai-based IBIS.

Speaking to media persons in Mangaluru on Sunday, he said, “It was wrong on the part of the firm to have set the barge into sea violating the orders of the district administration and the Port Department. The incident should have been brought to the notice of the district administration immediately, which the firm failed to do. With the efforts of the Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Security Police, all 27 persons on board have been rescued.”

Khader added, “The issues of how the barge entered the sea when there is a ban on fishing, why the firm neglected the order need to be probed. Although the local MLA, I received the news on the listing barge only at 5.15 pm. All these are testimony to the negligent attitude of the firm. Had they informed the Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Security Police immediately at the start of the incident, all 27 persons could have been rescued on Saturday itself.”

The minister said that he was in constant touch with the officials from Karwar and Goa. Stating that there was a plan to use the service of a helicopter to rescue stranded persons, he clarified that the service was not used due to the inclement weather condition.

Coast Guard Karnataka Commander DIG S S Dasila said, “Our priority was to rescue all the workers on board the barge. Accordingly, we formed two teams with five members each under the leadership of Commandant P K Jaswal and Gulwendra Singh. In addition, there were three swimming experts in the team. All the rescued crew members reached the shore at 9 am.”

Lauding Shobhith, a resident of Pandeshwar, who was on board, for instilling confidence among his fellow workers, the minister said that hailing from the fishermen community, Shobhith could have swum to the shore. However, he preferred to stay back with his colleagues in the time of crisis.

Health check up
The Minister also directed Deputy Commissioner Dr K G Jagadeesha to make alternative arrangements for a health check-up of all the 27 persons on board of the barge.
DH News Service

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