Bamboo jetty washes away during high tide; 3 killed, many missing
Three persons including a woman were killed and some went missing when a temporary jetty collapsed during a high tide in river Hooghly at Telenipara ghat near Bhadreswar in Hooghly district on Wednesday morning.
The injured people were admitted to Chandernagore Hospital and the search for the missing people continued for several hours.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in North Bengal, expressed her concern over the incident. Tapan Dasgupta, the state Agriculture Marketing minister, and Asima Patra, the Minister of State for Technical Education, rushed to the spot as directed by the Chief Minister to oversee the rescue work.
The state government has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured persons. Around 13 persons were injured till the report came in and they were admitted to the hospital.
A senior police officer confirmed that three persons were killed and there are some more who are feared drowned. The search for those who went missing had been started by officers of the Kolkata Police's disaster management group (DMG). Divers have also been engaged to carry out the rescue work.
The victims Manash Ghosh (26), Raja Chowdhury (24) and a 60-year-old unidentified woman were declared brought dead when taken to the hospital after being fished out from the river.
Meanwhile, twelve persons including a woman are still missing till the last report came in. Family members of the missing gathered on the river bank in search of their near and dear ones.
Police said that it was at 10.45 am when around 60 persons were waiting on the temporary jetty made out of bamboo to board onto a motorised boat to go across the river to Shyamnagar in North 24 Parganas. Suddenly, the water level started swelling with a high tide.
The bamboo structure of the jetty on which the people were standing washed away during the high tide and the people fell into the river. Some of them, who knew swimming, managed to come to the bank of the river. But there were many who didn't know how to swim. Some of the people had, somehow, managed to keep themselves floating for some time. Local people and boatmen initiated the rescue work. Fishermen went out in small boats and rescued around 20 persons. Thirteen of them were seriously injured and they were admitted to a hospital. Three were declared brought dead when taken to the hospital.
Monotosh Hazra, a local resident, said: "As it was the morning rush hours, more people than the capacity of the jetty went onto it and this can be a reason for which the jetty was washed away during the high tide."
The people from Bhadreswar avail the ferry service to go across the river to Shyamnagar in North 24 Parganas.
Similarly, hundreds of people from Shyamnagar also use the service to reach Hooghly. This is the shortest route that the people take to reach their destination on either side of the river.
Senior district officials including the district magistrate Sanjay Bansal and superintendent of police Sukesh Jain rushed to the spot. Policemen were deployed to control the crowd.
Bansal was found reading out names of the injured persons using a public addressing system and family members of the injured persons were asked to go to the hospital where their close ones were admitted.
Meanwhile, Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed his anxiety over the missing of about 12 passengers because of the collapse.
He also expressed his heartfelt sorrow at the loss of three lives at the same incident and conveyed condolences to the bereaved families.
The Governor requested everybody concerned to join hands in the rescue work to ameliorate the sufferings of the victims.
The Governor also expected that responsible authorities and officials will be more careful in future while constructing and maintaining such jetties over river Ganga so that such accidents do not occur in future, according to a press statement issued by Manab Bandyopadhyay, Press Secretary to the Governor.