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Deaths at dams, Dassam Falls

A schoolboy out to enjoy a picnic with tuition mates drowned at Dassam Falls in Ranchi, a college student met the same fate at Bokaro’s Tenughat Dam, while two engineers died at Tilaiya Dam in Hazaribagh on Christmas-eve, making it evident that safety of tourists at hot spots are yet to become a priority for the administration despite high court raps.

In Ranchi, Shashi Mehta (16), who studied in Class IX of St Stephen’s School, Hazaribagh, had come in a bus to the tourist destination in Bundu with a group of 60 students from his coaching institute around 10.30am. Shashi decided to take a dip in the inviting waters, but made the mistake of stepping in a danger zone. Soon, the swirling current pulled him in.

Sub-divisional police officer of Bundu R.S. Rai said the body could not be fished out. “The boy committed the common mistake of going into the most dangerous portion of the waterfall that does not appear to be too treacherous because of the calm surface,” he added.

This is the first death at Dassam Falls, about 40km from the district headquarters, this picnic season.

Sudhakar Prasad (20), a resident of Mukhiya tola in Petarwar of Bokaro, had also gone for a picnic with a friend at Tenughat Dam on Tuesday evening when the tragedy struck. The second-year student of Bengal College of Engineering and Technology, Durgapur, went into the waters with Pyare Lal around 3pm. Both started drowning.

A local youth rushed to their rescue, but could only save Pyare Lal. Police fished out the body around 5pm.

Engineer duo Om Prakash (25) of Garhwa and Prem Saurabh (26) of Jamui in Bihar — who used to work with DVC and were posted at Koderma Thermal Power Station — were drawn to Tilaiya Dam by the prospect of bathing around 2pm. Two other DVC engineers — K. Gorai and Vijay Kumar — accompanied them.

But Om Prakash moved into deeper water and started drowning. His cries alerted Prem, who was on the banks and tried to reach him. Both drowned within a few seconds.

A team from Tilaiya police outpost rushed to the spot and started searching for the bodies. But the rescue operation had to be called off after an hour because of poor visibility.

Recently, Jharkhand High Court had pulled the state government for not providing adequate facilities at tourist spots, including falls.

Tourism secretary Sajal Chakraborty blamed the Dassam incident on collective failure by the district administration and his department.

“Around a week ago, I wrote to all districts to ensure proper security, divers and other arrangements at all hot spots. Clearly, no step was take. At Dassam Falls, there wasn’t any security,” he said.

What can stop drowning deaths at water bodies?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com