Kinniya UC issued ferry permit
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan & Thameenah Razeek
The ferry that sank in Kinniya on Tuesday (23), killing six persons was issued a permit by the Kinniya Urban Council (UC) on 28 October 2021 by its Chairman S.H.M. Naleem, directing the ferry owner to adopt safety measures.
However, it is alleged the UC failed to monitor whether the ferry owner had followed conditions under which the permit was issued.
The permit was issued to M.A.M. Riyaz of Periyaartrumuani, Kinniya to transport passengers across the Kuringankerni Lagoon.
The permit letter issued to Riyaz states that since the new bridge is under construction the ferry service has been authorised for the public and the owner of the ferry has to be cautious about the safety of the public.
The letter states safety of the public has to be followed, at the same time, the service for the school children has to be free of charge. It also states that the ferry should be serviced time to time. Further, if these measures are not followed the permit would be cancelled.
Ceylon Today spoke to Kinniya UC’s Chief Management Service Officer who said that the matter regarding the ferry service was discussed at the highest level and there had been issues regarding this particular ferry.
“There is also another ferry that is operating, ‘but it runs with a cable’ and this particular one was permitted to operate just a month ago,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ferry that sank in Kinniya Lagoon killing six people, was operating without the approval of any authority in the area, Cabinet Spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma confirmed yesterday.
At a Cabinet briefing yesterday at the Government Information Department, he said that State Minister Nimal Lanza had agreed to build a bridge and has also proposed a byroad for travellers to use, to get to the other side. ‘He noticed, however, that the ferry operators as well as the public had utilised this ferry boat service without permission.’
When asked if the Government is taking any steps to build the bridge fast, Alahapperuma said that they will hasten the construction works, but as a State, they feel guilty about what has occurred.
In response to a question on the compensation to be provided to the families, the Minister said that it is not an issue