Nara Lokesh also dismissed the speculation, saying, "She is doing a fine job and has a bright future."

Andhra boat tragedy Did CM Naidu ask Akhila Priya to quit Tourism Minister denies
news Politics Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 08:30

Days after the tragic boat accident at the Pavitra Sangamam near Vijayawada killed 21 tourists, media reports suggested that the pressure was on Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya to take responsibility of the incident and resign on moral grounds. 

According to reports, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister asked Priya to quit the cabinet during a recent conference in Amaravati.

"In the past, Ministers used to resign taking responsibility when such things happened. Why can't Tourism Department be held responsible for the boat tragedy?" Naidu is reported to have asked Akhila Priya, only to be met with silence. 

Speculations were also triggered about a cabinet shuffle, in wake of the tragedy. 

However, speaking to reporters, Andhra Pradesh IT Minister Nara Lokesh, who also Naidu's son, dismissed the media reports as rumours.

“How can you expect to react to the reports in a section of media? She is doing a fine job and has a bright future," Nara Lokesh was quoted as saying.

The Minister also pointed out that the Hot Air Balloon festival in Araku and the Social Media Summit in Vijayawada were conducted under Akhila Priya, and took place successfully.  

However, stating that some officials in the Tourism Department were complicit, he said that strict action would be taken against them.

Akhila Priya herself, has also dismissed the media reports. 

Speaking to the Times of India, she said, "I will not react to those who are criticising me for not delivering. They were not even there at the scene. I stood by the families of the victims and on Wednesday I am going to visit the family of one of the victims in Nellore."

Earlier this month, the overloaded boat of a private operator carrying 45 tourists, including three crew members, capsized near Ibrahimpatnam Ferry Ghat near Vijayawada.

The tourists, majority of them hailing from Ongole town, were coming from Bhavani Island to Pavitra Sangamam, or holy confluence of Krishna and Godavari rivers to witness 'Maha haarathi' ritual on the last Sunday of the auspicious month of 'Karthika'.

The tourists had boarded a boat of the tourism department, but when told that the time for ferrying passengers was already over, they boarded the private boat.

The Chief Minister said the driver was inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area. He suddenly lost control of the overloaded boat, which capsized.

The police have registered a criminal case against the boat operator.

Naidu announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of the dead.


IANS inputs

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