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Killer cable takes toll of Kharagpur

Kharagpur, Oct. 19: Dipak Maity’s brother, Pradip, rang him up last night to tell him about the “wonderful” vacation he had in Gangtok and Mirik.

“We will be in Darjeeling tomorrow,” he had said.

When the phone rang this afternoon, nothing was wonderful. Pradip was injured in this morning’s ropeway crash. His wife Bandana and one of his daughters were killed. Dipak did not know then which of his brother’s daughters — Tanushree or Pallavi — was dead.

Kharagpur wept as news of the mishap reached the town. All the four dead and 11 injured were from here.

The unfortunate group of 15 comprised legal professionals and their families, including four children, who had gone on a holiday to Darjeeling in a group on October 14.

Police said Biswajit Mondol, 38, his wife Bratati Mondol, 32, Bandana Maity, 30, and her daughter Tanusree Maity, 5, were killed.

West Midnapore district magistrate M.V. Rao, said: “We are in touch with the Darjeeling administration for help in treatment and bringing back the bodies.”

“They were supposed to be in Darjeeling today and board the Darjeeling Mail tomorrow. They would have reached Sealdah on Tuesday and back home the same day,” Dipak said, still unable to come to terms with the loss.

Dipak left for Darjeeling with some friends to bring back the bodies and the injured.

A pall of gloom engulfed the house of Biswajit, a senior lawyer at Midnapore Judges’ Court, and Bratati Mondol, both residents of Bulbulchoti in Kharagpur. Their five-year-old daughter Rimi survived the fall.

“We have not summoned up the courage to inform Biswajit’s parents yet as they are old,” said Mihir Maity, Biswajit’s brother-in-law.

“The television set has been switched off so that they do not catch the news. We are not sure how to tell them their son and daughter-in-law are no more,” he added.

Biswajit’s parents, Binoy Krishna Mondol and Anuradha, are doctors and both have high blood pressure.

There were no deaths in the families of Ajit Pal and Bidyut Pratihar. There were injuries. Pal’s wife Soma and five-year-old daughter dived out moments before their cable car tore itself away from the rope and plummeted 50 feet to the ground.

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