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Friends who wanted to see Sikkim winter

Lachung in North Sikkim, from where the tourists were returning

Calcutta, Dec. 14: Three friends from Howrah had wanted to tour Sikkim in winter.

They had called it “winter vacation”, recalled Barun Dey. He had got a call yesterday evening from one of them Rajib Chakraborty, who was also Dey’s friend.

“All three of them seemed to be having a good time. Who knew they would meet this fate,” said Dey. Rajib, Bodhisatya Dhar and Shankar Das were residents of Shantragachi and good friends.

All three were in the Bolero that plunged down a 1,000ft before coming to rest along the Teesta.

Rajib, an only child and employee of Metro Railway, had left for the trip on December 9. They were supposed to return to Howrah on Friday. “Now they will arrive a day earlier in coffins,” Dey said.

Rajib’s mother, who suffers from a heart ailment, has been shifted to a relative’s house.

Shankar from Santragachhi used to work in a grille factory. His elder brother Subhash said he had not been able to tell his parents about the accident yet. “I don't know what I will do when the bodies arrive,” he said.

Bodhisatya, who owns a chartered bus that runs between Santragachhi and Rabindrasadan, is survived by widowed mother Dipa Dhar, wife Sonali, 32, and six-year-old son Debayan.

“I can never imagine he is coming back in a coffin. I don't know what will happen to us now,” said the mother.

Meena Sarkar from Sonarpur and Mamoni Singh from Purba Barisha were homemkaers.

Meena’s bother-in-law Tapan Sarkar said he had received a call from Asit last night. “My brother said there had been an accident but he could not give much details. Today, I learnt Meena has died. I hope the others are safe. I would like to appeal to the government to ensure that the body reaches us without any hassle,” said Tapan.

Mamoni had gone to Sikkim with friends, family sources said. Her husband Pradip, 30, a jeweller had not been able to come along because he is extremely busy as this is the wedding season. The couple were childless.