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‘Overcrowding and hole in the boat made it sink in seconds’

Tourism Secretary Harjot Kaur attended a function and left by 2.30 pm.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: January 16, 2017 4:34 am
Suman went to the Diara to enjoy kite-flying Suman went to the Diara to enjoy kite-flying

Suman Kumar (22), who runs a hotel, had taken a government boat to cross over to Sabalpur Diara to enjoy kite-flying with his friends. By 1 pm Saturday, the riverine belt was packed with visitors. Four tourism department boats were ferrying people to the spot. Suman says he and his friends saw the crowd surge and the administration struggling to control it. Tourism Secretary Harjot Kaur attended a function and left by 2.30 pm.

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“Once the secretary left, there were announcements that the government boats would not ply after 4 pm. It created panic and suddenly thousands of people were on the banks looking for boats. I could see the last set of government boats plying till 3 pm,” said Suman.

By 5.30 pm, there were about 7,000 people at the Diara. It was at 5.35 pm that people spotted a small boat with a capacity of 25-people. The boatman was convinced to take them to the other side. “Fellow boatmen pushed the overcrowded and rickety boat into the river. We had barely moved 25 m, when some of us saw water entering our boat.”

As the boatman tried turning back, the genset started giving out excessive fumes. About a dozen jumped in river. “Overcrowding and big hole in the boat made it sink in a matter of seconds. My friends and I swam to safety,” said Suman, who saved three people.

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  1. P
    Jan 18, 2017 at 11:18 am
    Nitish jee said that he was unaware of the kite festival .but why and how boat with was allowed to ferry the pengers. were the government and district adminstration basking in the false glory of prakash utsav?or they don't value the life of ordinary poor people?
    1. S
      Sankaran Krishnan
      Jan 16, 2017 at 2:55 am
      Who is responsible for over-crowding in Boats and when they knew that so many people are sted at the place is it not the duty to make travel arrangement through Boats and why such announcements are made which was the root cause for the panic and who is responsible and why there is no safety norms are in place and what action had been taken against the Officials for their lack and irresponsible acts !!!
      1. M
        Jan 16, 2017 at 5:26 am
        sir, in india ,, the governments wakes up only if such incidents happens ,,lt;br/gt;until then "sotey rahao munnabhai" ... now the blame game and BJP has a point to nail the government,,, this is always the case ....lt;br/gt;may GOD rest the soul in peace of those died ! may GOD give courage and patience to the victims family.....
        1. S
          Jan 17, 2017 at 8:05 am
          Govt machinery in Bihar is wholly focused, over obsessed and indulged only in enforcing prohibition and liquor ban and in search and seizure, arresting and punishing the accused.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Its time that they stop this obsession and start prioritizing other administrative, social and development work and concentrate on all round governance.