ECONOMYNEXT – Six Sri Lankans including four children drowned when a ferry capsized in Kinniya, Trincomalee, Tuesday (23) morning, leading to angry protests from locals over an unfinished bridge that they claimed had to the tragedy.
Police said 25-35 passengers had been aboard the ferry which had been transporting residents and school children across the Kinniya lagoon by the Kurinjankarni bay. Eight rescue teams deployed by the Navy have rescued 20 persons, and search operations are under way for the missing.
The ferry had been used in place of a broken down bridge over the lagoon. A foundation stone was laid in April this year for a new bridge, but this has yet to materialise, broadcast media quoted Kinniya residents as saying. News footage also showed angry residents burning tires in protest outside the Kinniya divisional secretariat.
The matter was raised in parliament Tuesday morning by opposition MPs who called for compensation to be paid to the victims and their families.
MP Rauf Hakeem told parliament that the ferry had been operating without a permit.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Nimal Lansa had laid the foundation stone to the proposed new bridge but no progress had been made.
“I ask that this task is completed soon,” he said.
Premadasa also called for an investigation into the ferry’s operation.
“I would like to extend the sympathies of this house to the victims,” he said. (Colombo/Nov23/2021)