The accident took place when the boat, carrying at least 34 people, was reportedly about to reach the river bank. (Representative image) (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)
The boat was returning from a kite festival on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a harvest festival
In a tragic incident, a boat capsized in the Ganga river near Patna in the northern Indian state of Bihar, According to ANI, at least 20 people have died in the accident.The accident took place when the boat,was about to reach the river bank. The boat was returning from a kite festival on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a harvest festival. Meanwhile, the state police have launched a search operation for the missing people. The State government has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the deceased.
Some persons swam to safety, while some families were complaining of missing members, the SP said adding, a search operation is on. District magistrate Sanjay Kumar Aggarwal and the SP have reached the spot.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the boat tragedy and ordered a probe.
The CM instructed principal secretary of Health R K Mahajan and the Patna district magistrate to ensure proper treatment of the victims of the boat tragedy. Kumar has also instructed Principal Secretary of Disaster Management Pratyay Amrit and deputy inspector general Shalin to supervise relief and rescue operations and has ordered Patna district administration to provide ex-gratia to the family of the deceased.
According to eye-witnesses, at least 50-60 people were aboard the small boat, which drowned only a few metres away from the bank. “The incident took place just before sunset. While few people swam their way across to the bank, several were feared trapped under the boat,” he said.
The toll figures were likely to rise as several people were still missing, till the time of filing the report. An eye-witness said around 4pm, the sandbar jetty, from where people were boarding the boats, got damaged because of which several people were stranded across the river.
About 10 injured were admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) for treatment.
It may be mentioned that the Bihar government had organised a kite festival on the occasion of Makar Sankranti at the Sabbalpur bank off the NIT Ghat on Saturday. Such fests are being organised for the last several years by the state government at the venue.
Senior officials reached the spot for the rescue operations. Three NDRF teams of 130 personnel in all were also dispatched for the rescue ops late evening.
(This report first appeared in DNA)