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Monstrous face of fate in the minds of people at muhamma:_
In one of the worst accidents in the internal water transport history of the State, 29 persons, including 15 women and a nine- month-old child, met with a watery grave when the boat they were travelling in capsized off the Kumarakom coast in the Vembanad lake at 6.05 a.m on 27th of July 2002 The 100-seater boat, belonging to the Kerala Water Transport Department was coming from Muhamma in Alappuzha district to Kumarakom in Kottayam district. It was carrying much more than its capacity as there was a rush of candidates appearing for the State Public Service Commission test. According to eyewitness reports, the boat which started early before its scheduled time of 5.45 a.m. from Muhamma (on account of the heavy rush) had covered almost three-quarter of its journey when suddenly the commuters felt a jolt. People started moving frantically in the overcrowded boat resulting it losing balance and overturned. Rescue operators said the water was only 10-feet deep at the site. The boat might have moved out of its channel and would have been grounded in a few minutes time as it was overcrowded. The Vembanad lake is busy in the early mornings and within minutes of the accident, local people, most of whom were engaged in inland fishing, sand- mining and mussel collection, thronged the site and started rescue operations. One of the dredgers belonging to the Travancore Cements, stationed nearby, was of great help as many of the commuters could swim to safety. The rescue operations were a joint effort of the local people, district administration, police and the Naval team from Kochi and but for the initiative and resourcefulness of the local people and excellent coordination by the district administration the death toll would have been much higher, it is pointed out. Today's accident has raised a big question mark over the state of affairs in the Kerala State Water Transport Department that operates services on the Vembanad Lake. Complaints regarding the dilapidated condition of the departmental boats have always fallen on deaf ears. In fact, the same boat, A 53, which developed a leak, was stranded in the middle of the lake less than two years ago with passengers. Most of them are in a state of disrepair and often many of the services are cancelled without prior notice. The present sorry state of affairs has been a boon to private operators. The route connecting Alappuzha with Kumarakom is also one of the routes identified as important from the point of view of tourism development.



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