Dumka, Oct. 17: The deaths of two youths, suspected to have been washed away in the waters of surging Darhwa river in Deoghar on Monday, have raised questions on the role of the district administration that allegedly failed to take adequate precautionary measures in the wake of cyclone Phailin.
Raviraj Mandal (28), a resident of Kunda in Deoghar, and his brother-in-law Prashant Kumar Chaudhary (35), who hailed from Jamshedpur, went missing on their way to Jasidih station in a car in the early hours of Monday. Chaudhary was supposed to catch a train to Jamshedpur and the two are believed to have taken the old bridge over Darhwa that had swelled up after incessant rain triggered by Phailin.
Mandal’s family had initially lodged a kidnap complaint with Kunda police after he failed to return home. But the two bodies were recovered from the river banks yesterday. The car was also found at a spot about 700m from the bridge, suggesting that they got washed away by the overflowing water.
Residents claimed the water was flowing at a height of 6 feet above the bridge on Sunday evening. “Heavy rainfall throughout the night must have further swelled up the river. But the administration took no step, even though it was aware that the bridge, which links Deoghar and Jasidih, is used by people headed to Jasidih station, Giridih and Jamui,” said a local resident.
Although a second bridge has come up over Darhwa and was thrown open to public before Shravani Mela, most commuters still opted for the old link as the new one lacks proper approach roads.
However, officials of PWD claimed that they did their bit by putting up warning boards on either end of the old bridge. “We had put up signboards, asking commuters to avoid the bridge after noticing the rise in water level on Sunday evening. The boards must have been stolen at night,” executive engineer of PWD Jai Prajash Singh said.
He pointed out that had there been no warning signs, more commuters would have met with the same fate.