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Maharashtra Minister Flees Boat, Leaves Women, Children Stranded

Mumbai: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare was stranded with other passengers aboard a catamaran near Mandwa, Alibaug on Tuesday. The catamaran developed a technical snag.MidDay reports that according to  passengers on the ferry, Tatkare hopped
PTI September 24, 2010 12:49 IST
PTI
Mumbai: Maharashtra Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare was stranded with other passengers aboard a catamaran near Mandwa, Alibaug on Tuesday. The catamaran developed a technical snag.

MidDay reports that according to  passengers on the ferry, Tatkare hopped into a 'special' boat that arrived to rescue him along with his convoy leaving women, children and even an injured crewmember at sea, quite literally.

As reported by certain sections of the media, Tatkare was on his way to Mandwa on Tuesday morning, an hour away from Gateway of India in a ferry operated by PNP Maritime Services, which runs private jetties and catamaran services between Mumbai and Alibaug. He was travelling on the air-conditioned lower deck along with 50 passengers, some of who occupied the open-air upper deck, when the boat developed a technical snag.              

"The engine of the boat started heating up and emitting fumes, but there was no fire. One of our crewmembers neutralised the smoke and in the process suffered minor injuries," said a spokesperson from the ferry service, requesting anonymity.

According to the passengers, the minute Tatkare sensed trouble he called for help but only for himself.
"A speedboat arrived within 20 minutes and the neta left in it along with the five people accompanying him, which included policemen. We asked him if he could rescue us or at least women, children and the injured crewmember. But making an excuse that he had an important meeting to attend, he sped away," said a stranded passenger. "Yes, I was on the boat and this is what happened," added another passenger Renu, but was reluctant to divulge details.   

This fact was confirmed by the ferry service spokesperson. "The passengers in the boat were stranded for nearly an hour till another boat came and rescued them. The minister had already left by then."

According to Qaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone), two boats were used to rescue those stranded, as the speedboat that came for minister had limited capacity. "The minister took the speedboat, which couldn't accommodate many people. It was just a matter of time till the other boat arrived. It reached minutes later and rescued the others."

However, when MidDay  asked Khalid, why wasn't the injured man taken on the speedboat he said that he did not have an information of any accident  on the ferry and that the rescue boats were sent by PNP Maritime Services.