At least eleven people drowned after a boat capsized during the Ganapati immersion at the Khatlapura Ghat in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal early on Friday morning.

The State Disaster Emergency Response Force (SDERF) personnel, divers and police teams carried out search and rescue operations at Khatlapura Ghat from where bodies were recovered.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the families of the deceased and directed a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Nath said that strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the mishap.

The accident took place around 4.30 am at Khatlapura Ghat of lower lake near the newly renovated state police headquarters and the State Disaster Rescue Team (SDRF).

According to preliminary reports, there were 19 people on the boat. Five people were rescued and three people were missing.

The accident occurred when a heavy idol of Ganesha tilted in the boat in mid-waters.

According to eyewitnesses, two boats were interlinked, carrying 23 people. All people were aged 27-28 years. No one was wearing a life jacket. As one boat overturned, people from it tried jumping on to the other and the balance was lost.

Those killed were residents of 100 quarters of Piplani, BHEL township. The Municipal Corporation said the rescue operation is being handled by its divers.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has raised the negligence issue and wondered why the processionists were not equipped with life jackets. He was also not satisfied with the compensation announced.

(With inputs from IANS)