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Men and machine fail to rescue boy from drain

Compensation cry as rescue hope dims

By Shuchismita Chakraborty in Patna
  • Published 19.11.18, 12:13 AM
  • Updated 19.11.18, 9:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
A diver prepares to enter the drain. Picture by Manoj Kumar

Specialised rescue teams including divers and equipped with a “super sucker” machine failed to find 10-year-old Dipak Kumar, who fell into the Mohanpur sump house drain in Punaichak locality on Saturday afternoon.

Till around 8.30pm on Sunday, two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) that had eight divers, and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams equipped with divers, experts and a “super sucker” machine of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) had drawn blank in their search.

The rescue teams tried different methods. First, the motor pump of the sump house was switched on so that water flows with high speed and if Dipak was stuck anywhere into the drain he would be swept out. The strategy didn’t work. The super sucker machine was also used to clear excessive mud from inside the drain, but NDRF officials said that also did not help.

Deputy municipal commissioner Vishal Anand said that now the PMC was going to bore through a portion between two manholes which they were assuming to be choked. Vishal said that that the whole exercise would take at least one or two hours. “We will see whether the choking has anything to do with Dipak,” Vishal said around 7pm on Sunday.

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He said PMC officials were monitoring the rescue work.

NDRF commandant Vijay Sinha said the rescue team was facing various hurdles.

“A 25-foot-long portion in the drain, which has not been touched for years, has excessive sand. The rescue team is facing a lot of problem due to this,” Sinha said. “To add to their problems, there is darkness and surprisingly large volume of thermocol (polystyrene) pieces floating inside the drain. The thermocol must have been thrown by the local traders but due to this the rescue team cannot move ahead with ease.

“Earlier on Saturday and even this morning, one end of the drain has been searched by NDRF team and another by the SDRF but we have not been successful in our attempt yet. More than 15 oxygen cylinders have been used. We are using our teams on rotational basis,” added Sinha.

He said that in case Dipak was not found by Sunday, the rescue operations will continue on Monday.

Dipak’s relatives demanded compensation for the family. “Dipak’s family should be given compensation because they had no role in this tragic incident,” said Srikant Ram, a relative of the boy.

“The administration is responsible; Dipak fell into the drain because it was left uncovered. The drain dates back to the 1980s. We have seen many people falling into this drain.”

He added: “Dipak’s mother is crying inconsolably since they came to know about the accident. Everyone in the family has assumed that Dipak is no more but everyone is hoping that his body will be recovered soon.”