The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kanti pledges blood for ferry victims

Calcutta, Nov. 4: The CPM will sell blood to raise funds for the families of nine persons who drowned yesterday when a crowded mechanised boat lost balance on the bank of the Joynal Canal in South 24-Parganas.

The victims, seven women and two children, were among CPM supporters on their way to attend a party meeting at Dhakir More in the Kultali area.

The meeting, in protest against alleged SUCI attacks on CPM workers, was attended by CPM state secretary Anil Biswas, Sunderbans development minister Kanti Ganguly and local leaders.

The driver of the boat is still missing. The bodies were handed over to the families today in the presence of Ganguly at the Diamond Harbour morgue. “We will sell blood to compensate the hapless families,” said Ganguly.

Biswas has reportedly promised Rs 50,000 to each of the families as compensation.

The subdivisional officer of Alipore, Dibyendu Sarkar, who is also in charge of Diamond Harbour, said: “The government will also try to provide aid to the families.”

“The mishap could be prevented. The district police have implemented strict regulations regarding the maximum number of passengers to be allowed on every boat in view of the frequent tragedies in the area. But this accident couldn’t be averted due to the unruly behaviour of the rally-bound passengers,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

The SUCI MLA from Kultali, Prabodh Purkait, said: “Kanti Ganguly has to be immediately removed from the government if peace is to be restored in the disturbed Joynagar-Kultali. The police must be impartial amid escalating violence.”

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