SHC hears plea regarding drowning of picnickers in Keenjhar Lake
KARACHI: A bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday took up a petition regarding the boat capsizing and drowning of ten picnickers in Keenjhar Lake last month.
The Sindh tourism secretary, the deputy commissioner (DC), and SSP Thatta appeared before the court. The DC placed on record standard operating procedures (SOPs) for boating in the lake.
During the hearing, the court asked the secretary to explain as to what measures have been taken to prevent such incidents. He replied that the SOPs are already in place with a ban imposed on boating following the Aug 17 incident.
The secretary further informed that the boat which capsized that day was a fishing boat and not meant for tourism purposes but, people, taking advantage of scores of people visiting the recreational spot, ferry visitors from the banks of the lake to Nori Jam Tamachi shrine at the water body’s centre to mint money.
The court put off the hearing until October 20, directing the petitioner to go through the report and submit his rejoinder.
On Sept 17, 10 people had died after a boat capsized in Keenjhar Lake. The victims that included children and women from the same family were residents of Karachi’s Mehmoodabad locality.
“The boatmen charge 50 rupees per passenger and take people to the place of Noori Jam Tamachi in middle of the lake without a life jacket and other safety gear,” the petition said. “Dilapidated boats commute overloaded with as many as 50 passengers in a boat,” according to the petition.
“The boatmen are running their boats without a regulatory policy and licensing laws,” the petition further described.