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Boat Capsized In Chapra, 3 Died

2015-05-02 23:59

The rescue operation on Jalangi on Sunday morning. Picture by PRANAB DEBNATH


Krishnanagar, May 2: At least three persons died when a country boat capsized in the JalangiRiver during a thunderstorm in Nadia’s Chapra on Saturday night.

According to police, a 5-meter long country boat carrying about 30 passengers, mostly local people, capsized a little after it left the Debipur ghat in Dhubulia at about 7 pm for Tilakpur in Chapra located on the other side of the Jalangi bank.

According to local sources, the boat was overloaded as apart from excess passengers, many boarded the boat along with their motorbikes and bicycles to ferry it in a rush to reach home despite objection of the boatman.

The local people immediately started rescue operation during the thunderstorm, but could able to fish out three bodies, including the elderly boatman, only during the early hours of Sunday morning.

The victims were identified as Pradip Ghosh (41), a grocer; Chandra Singh (39), a brick kiln worker from Bihar and the boatman Bhajahari Sarkar (62). Rescues have also recovered four motorbikes and three bicycles from the river

Police later with the help of Chapra block administration arranged generator set to join the rescue operation. Chapra BDO Reena Ghosh and MLA Rukbanur Rehaman also rushed to the spot and monitored the rescue operation.

Senior officials of police and district administration are camping on the spot and supervising rescue operations as the divers of the state disaster management services pressed into action.

Ramzan Ali Mondal, Pradhan of Mahatpur gram panchayat, who was present on the spot since Sunday evening to supervise the rescue operation said: “Most of the passengers managed to swim out to reach the bank as we found no body. But, three bodies were found late in the night. The rescue operation is still going on as the number of passengers in boat is conflicting”.

Meanwhile, the police have started a case against one Mohon Mondal, who got a contract from the local panchayat to operate ferry service from at the Tilakpur ghat. Local sources said, Mohon engaged Bhajahari, the elderly boatmen to operate the service. Mohon was not available for comment.

“It is a local kuchcha ghat where only country boat was allowed to operate to ferry maximum ten persons each time. However, due to heavy rush of passengers the boatman could never impose the restriction on the passengers, who also often cross the river with the motorbike and bicycles”, an official of district administration said. There was serious lapse on the part of the local administration as it never visited the spot to ensure the safety of the passengers”, an officer of Chapra block administration said.

According to sources, the trouble began in the same way on Saturday night when the thunderstorm started.

Ranjit Kumar Halder, a teacher who was on the boat said: “There was a sudden rush of people once the thunderstorm began. There were about 25 passengers on the boat and at four motorbikes and about 6 bicycles when the boatman started sailing.  But, four more persons on two bikes came at the last moment and asked the boatman to take them too. I including some other passengers raised objection. But, they insisted him to take them too due to the thunderstorm. The boatman eventually agreed and took them too and started sailing amidst strong blow of wind. The boat suddenly shaking and before we could realize anything, it capsized. I managed to jump in the river at the last moment. I later swim across the river and reach the bank and then alerted the other boatmen on the bank to rescue the passengers”.

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