The toll in the boat tragedy in Ganga river between Varanasi and Mirzapur on August 5 has risen to 14. The National Disaster Response Force and the PAC teams are continuing their search operation for six more persons who are reportedly missing.
According to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Chunar), Mirzapur, A K Kanaujia, one body was recovered Friday and another Saturday.
Three other bodies were also found by the divers but they were not connected with the boat tragedy.
“The body recovered today was identified as that of Neha, daughter of Dinesh Kumar, a resident of Gangpur. The victim is a minor. On Friday, the body of one Shyamlal was also recovered. Three other bodies were also fished out during the search but they do not seem to be connected with this tragedy. They may have flowed from elsewhere. At least six more persons are reported missing. The search and rescue operations are on,” he said.
A large number of victims in the tragedy are from Gangpur village in Mirzapur on the bank of Ganga, opposite Betawar ghat from where the boat had taken off on August 5.
With the water levels continually rising in the last couple of days, the divers’ team is finding it difficult to locate the bodies, officials said. Massive nets have been laid at Samneyghat and Rajghat further downstream.
Meanwhile, the Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Varanasi, A K Awasthy, is heading a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
There were reports of the boatman and the contractor being arrested in the case. However, the police denied the same.
“There have been no arrests in the case. Investigations are on,” said Circle Officer (Chunar) Pradeep Verma.
At least 42 people, besides bicycles and motorcycles, were loaded on the boat that took off the Betawar ghat under Rohaniya police station area of Varanasi on August 5.
As the boat, being rowed by Santosh Manjhi, reached midstream, it was reportedly caught in a strong current. Besides, water is said to have been filled in it.
Around 20 people, including Manjhi, managed to swim to safety.
A case has been registered against him and the contractor for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and overloading.