For septuagenarian Barsa Murmu, the anxious wait of 16 days for the rescue of his youngest son trapped in the Uttarakhand tunnel proved too much.
Barsa, a native of Bahda village in Dumaria block of East Singhbhum district, collapsed and fell from his cot after having breakfast around 8.30am on Tuesday shortly after enquiring about his son Bhaktu. Later in the evening, Bhaktu was rescued along with 40 others from the under-construction Silkyara tunnel.
Bhaktu was among the 15 workers from Jharkhand who were trapped in the under-construction Silkyara Bend-Barkot mountain tunnel since November 12.
“The relatives said that Barsa was very close to his youngest son and would regularly seek information about his condition. On Tuesday morning, he had his breakfast and was sitting in the courtyard when all of a sudden he fell from his cot and died. The relatives refused a post-mortem. They claimed he died of shock,” said Dumaria police station officer-in-charge Sanjeevan Oraon who visited the family after the incident.
Punta Murmu, mother of rescued worker Bhaktu Murmu, mourns her husband’s death in Dumaria of East Singhbhum, Jharkhand, on Wednesday. Bhola Prasad
Oraon said Barsa’s last rites were held at the village on Wednesday as it was not clear when Bhaktu would be back home.
None of Barsa’s three sons were present at the time of his death. Bhaktu’s elder brother Ramrai works in Chennai while his other brother Mangal works as a labourer in another village in the same block.
The father of Tinku Sardar, another youth from Dumaria block to be rescued from the tunnel, is suffering from cancer.
“It was unfortunate to learn about the death of Bhaktu’s father. On Wednesday morning, we arranged a conversation between Tinku and his father Bonu Sardar, who is suffering from cancer,” said Shikha Lakra, the lead officer in the migration control room in Jharkhand.