Drowning of boy on rafting trip raises safety concerns

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Drowning of boy on rafting trip raises safety concerns

Monday, 12 March 2018 | PNS | Haridwar

A day after the death of a 21- year-old engineering student who drowned in Ganga in Rishikesh while on a rafting trip on Friday has raised concern over the safety of the rafters.  

The operations by the rafting companies have also come under scanner along with the authorities which grant license to such companies without ensuring that they have taken up adequate measures for the youngsters who participate in the adventure sports like rafting.   

Manjul Pandey, resident of Joshi Khala in Almora, had slipped into Ganga while he was washing his feet after completing the rafting along with his friends. He had been instantly swept away by the strong current of the river. Though his friends had tried their best to save him after they rushed to the spot on hearing the scream of the drowning youngster he had met his watery grave before their eyes.  A group of ten students had reached Rishikesh on Friday for river rafting and they had been playing on the Neem beach where the incident had happened, said police.

Speaking of the incident, SHO Muni Ki Reti, Manish Upadhyay said that they had rushed to the spot after they received the information through Manjul’s friends  at around 3 pm on Friday. “They told us that they had helplessly seen their friend accidentally slipping in the river and getting caught in the swirl. Our team  swung into action promptly. The  body was fished out by the divers  belonging to SDRF. Following post-mortem, his body was handed over to his family members,” he said.

Quizzed over why they had not put up caution boards along such beaches known as dangerous, Upadhyay said that it was not possible to put up signboards on all such places. “The rafting companies warn the rafters before they begin the expedition. However, this happened after the rafting was over,” he added.

This is not, however, the first time that a youngster drowned in Ganga while on rafting trip. In January, a 33- year- old woman Bhagwati Barman of lakshmi Nagar Delhi had drowned in a river rapid when the raft she was abroad had overturned. 

This  had led to verification derive involving the rafting operators by the police, but soon all had been given clean chit and  they had been back  in operation in no time. In 2017, another such unfortunate death had happened as another Delhi resident had got stuck in one of the rapids.  In 2013, six people had died during rafting.

Queried over the death of the youngster and the police not caring to install warning boards before the rafting season commenced,  SP city Haridwar Mamta Vohra said that such caution boards are not placed on banks of Ganga before the rafting season begins. “This exercise should, however, be carried out well in time because  such boards are washed away or damaged by the river currents and people do not realize the slushy river banks which pose threat to the rafters who are oblivious of the depth of the river,” she added.

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