Hooghly jetty collapse toll touches 13
The death toll in Telenipara incident increased to 13 with bodies of six more people including a woman being recovered on Friday morning.
It may be recalled that a portion of an abandoned jetty was washed away with around 60 people standing on it to get onto a semi-mechanised boat to go across the river at Telenipara ghat near Bhadreswar in Hooghly on Wednesday morning.
Thirty were rescued immediately after the incident and they received minor injuries. Two were declared brought dead when taken to hospital immediately after the incident.
On Thursday, bodies of three persons were fished out that led the death toll climb to five.
The toll went up to 13 when the bodies of six more people were found on Friday and 11 people are still missing.
The bodies were found on Friday morning from different ghats on the river bank in Hooghly.
Bodies were found at Chandannagar, Chinsurah and Bandel — areas which are quite far off from the spot where the incident actually took place.
The victims have been identified as Sahadat Hussain (22), Nabin Das (23), Sabir Hussain (23) and Simba Sabrin (18). Two bodies are yet to be identified. Bodies of five people have been fished out early on Friday morning and later in the afternoon the body of a woman was found.
The search operation is continuing without leaving any gap. Divers have been pressed into service and officers of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are also carrying out search operations which is continuing even after sun down.
Family members of those who are still missing were found running from one ghat to another after they got to know that a few bodies have been found.
Those recovered after two days of the incident were partly decomposed but could be identified by the clothes worn by them.
Though people are well aware that it is not possible for a person to survive after remaining drowned for almost two days, family members are still waiting with hope and praying for chances of miracle to see their near and dear ones alive.
Amidst the search operation, the state government has initiated to take all the necessary steps to avoid a repeat of such unfortunate incidents in future.
In the backdrop of the incident, a high level meeting was held at the state Secretariat, Nabanna.
In the meeting, senior officials headed by Chief Secretary Basudeb Bandyopadhyay held a video conference with District Magistrates to get a count on the number of such jetties.
The steps that need to be taken to upgrade the condition of the permanent jetties have already been taken up and at the same time the state government has decided to take stringent measures to ensure closure of unauthorised jetties which are used mainly to operate semi-mechanised boats. Steps will also be taken to construct permanent jetties where such unauthorised jetties are in use for many years and are absolutely crucial for day-to-day commutation for the locals.
At the same time, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed to initiate a campaign to avoid accidents in rivers.