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Teesta mishap: Bodies of two tourists, driver still elude search parties

Teesta mishap: Bodies of two tourists, driver still elude search parties

Darjeeling: The search for the bodies of two missing tourists and the driver, along with the vehicle that had plunged into river Teesta, continued without any success on Thursday.

On July 10, Aman Garg along with his two friends, all hailing from Rajasthan, were travelling from Bagdogra to Gangtok, when the Innova they were travelling in skid off the road and fell into river Teesta near the Coronation Bridge.

A search and rescue operation launched by the NDRF along with rafters has yielded no result so far. Finally, the body of Garg was found kilometers downstream in Jalpaiguri district on July 13. The others still missing include Gaurav Sharma, Gopal Narwan and Rakesh Rai, the driver. Incidentally, an Indian navy team is also conducting search operations for the missing trio. It has not been possible to pull out the vehicle from the river either, owing to heavy siltation.

State Tourism minister Goutam Deb has been overseeing the search operations. He had met the relatives of the deceased and assured them of all support. On Thursday Kartar Singh, Additional District Magistrate, Bundi District, Rajasthan, visited the accident spot near Coronation Bridge and also met Deb to discuss the ongoing search operations.

"The NDRF and Naval teams conducting the search operations have categorically stated that it is difficult to continue the search operations owing to the amount of water and the heavy current. With heavy rains in the past few days, the water level of the river has increased manifold. Only if the NHPC can hold back water by closing the lock gates, can effective search be conducted," stated Deb.

The minister said that he is constantly in touch with the concerned authorities and has even spoken to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has spoken to the National Disaster Management and Union Home Ministry.

"She has also spoken to the Chief Secretary to coordinate with Disaster Management and the Union Home minister, so that they can coordinate with the national agencies like the NHPC to ensure an effective search to recover the vehicle and the bodies," Deb said.

Meanwhile, Deb also met the family members of the deceased driver Rakesh Rai at Bhanunagar in Siliguri. Rai has two elder brothers.

"We will be giving the two brothers Rs one and a half lakh each and also jobs in the Tourism department if they want," he said.

Incidentally, the local rafters and residents who have been taking part in search operations have also approached Deb for search equipment and training.

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