Suicide rate at Kankaria lake dips after introduction of entry fee

Ever since the provision of entry fee was introduced at the Kankaria Lake on January 7 this year,not a single incident of suicide has been reported at this water body,which used to be a suicide ‘hotspot’.

Written by Parimal Dabhi | Ahmedabad | Published:February 27, 2009 1:27 am

Now,Sabarmati and Narmada canal emerge as alternate ‘hotspots’

Ever since the provision of entry fee was introduced at the Kankaria Lake on January 7 this year,not a single incident of suicide has been reported at this water body,which used to be a suicide ‘hotspot’.

After the authorities started charging Rs 10 as entry fee,the ‘rush’ of suicide has diverted to places like the Sabarmati and the Narmada canal.

According to the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) records,between January 1,2009 and February 24,2009 they have attended to around 30 rescue calls at the Sabarmati and the Narmada canal. At the same time,not a single incident of suicide or drowning has been reported from the Kankaria Lake,which was earlier witnessing frequent suicide incidents.

Chief Fire Officer M F Dastoor said: “The lake had been a headache for us. On an average,we used to get at least one call every day and most of them would be cases of suicide. With the introduction of an entry fee,the number of such incidents at the lake has come down. Now,Sabarmati and Narmada canal have become the preferred spot to commit suicide.”

Under the Kankaria Lake Front Development project,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation authorities have introduced Rs 10 as entry fee for adults. The officials attribute the change in trend to the increased security around the lake. “There are around 50 security guards at the Kankaria Lake round the clock,who make sure that no such untoward incident takes place,” said an official associated with the project.

Senior consultant psychiatrist Hansal Bhachech feels that it is the mentality of an average person,who intends to commit suicide,of not spending money to enter a place where he wants to end his life.

However,senior sociologist Gaurang Jani says the change in trend is just a symptom of the larger issue of a common ‘Amdavadi’ turning away from the lake due to its commercialisation.

“Earlier,an average citizen used to consider this lake as his own place,which he could access at any time at will without any condition. But now,with the introduction of entry fee and framing of certain time limit to visit the spot,that feeling is fading,and it is being reflected in the decreased suicide incident,” said Jani.

He added: “Not only suicides,many other casual things which were associated with the lake have also disappeared due to the entry fee,like a common man spending a few refreshing moments on the banks of the lake.”

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