Police said, the boat was carrying nearly 150 passengers, capsized in a river and the victims were mainly farmers and fishermen who were returning from a Muslim religious festival.
"They were returning from a festival. There were eight vessels and one of them capsized. It happened in the northern part of the river. The whole boat capsized and we are trying to rescue the people," said Archana Meena, District Magistrate, East Midnapore district.
The police and Indian coastguard have started search operations for the missing persons. Divers from Kolkata were pressed into service.
“The boat could only ferry 40-50 passengers. But, at the time of accident, the boat was overloaded," police said.