Mayor Firhad Hakim said on Wednesday that he had never asked for a blanket ban on rowing in the Rabindra Sarobar following the death of two teenage rowers in the lake on Saturday.
Hakim said he had only asked for a bar on novice rowers till a set of standard operating guidelines was in place.
“I never said that a complete ban should be in place. Experienced rowers can carry on. I said there should be a ban on novice rowers till the safety protocols are decided upon. It is for their safety,” Hakim told The Telegraph on Wednesday.
A day before, officials of the three rowing clubs in the Sarobar compound — Calcutta Rowing Club, Bengal Rowing Club and Lake Club — said rowing in the lake will remain suspended till a set of SOPs was drawn up. They spoke of a blanket ban on rowing activities. There was no change in that stance till Wednesday night, said sources in the clubs.
A meeting between the police, representatives of the clubs and officials of the KMDA, custodian of the lake, that was scheduled for Thursday has been deferred, sources in the state administration said.
The KMDA has been accused of remaining "silent" on the safety protocols in the wake of the tragedy on Saturday.
Asked about the allegation, Hakim said on Wednesday: “The KMDA lacks expertise to handle emergency situations, like the accident on Saturday, and disaster management. Police have that expertise. That is why I have asked the police commissioner to convene a meeting with all the stakeholders and prepare a set of SOPs”.