The Andhra Pradesh government has constituted a special committee to investigate the massive fire that broke out at the Visakhapatnam fishing port on the night of November 19 (Sunday), which destroyed 45 mechanized boats.
The committee includes officials from the revenue, fire, fisheries and police departments. Apart from this, the government has also formed a team comprising personnel from crime wings, task force and Central Crime Station to interrogate the arrested suspects, as well as track down those who absconded after the incident.
“We have registered a case of accidental fire. Assistant Commissioner of Police (Port) is the investigating officer. We have arrested some people to know the main gang leader in this case and the motive behind the incident,” said Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner A. Ravi Shankar.
It was learned that a clash occurred between the owner of the boat in which the fire broke out and another person who runs a YouTube channel. The YouTube channel owner, who belongs to the fishing community, reportedly took an advance amount from the boat owner who wanted to buy another boat. They reportedly exchanged arguments on Sunday after the boat owner wanted his money back and the YouTube channel owner refused. They had a drinking party on the boat.
“It was reported that some people on the boat set fire. This is the preliminary information we have so far. We are still investigating the case,” a police official said.
Meanwhile, a number of fishermen at the fishing port expressed their concern over the lack of proper security arrangements. The state police were not paying attention as they were friendly with some hunters. On the other hand, a group of fishermen said that the neighboring CISF staff of Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) are giving less priority to the fishing port as the port area is their priority.
Andhra Pradesh Motor Boat Owners Welfare Association president Vasubally Janakiram said their association had raised security issues several times with the authorities concerned. “We have brought the issue of establishing a police station inside the port to the notice of the complex. We will raise the issue of security again.”