Thursday, 09 August 2018 | PNS | Haridwar —
At least 10 Kanwadiyas have died so far during the fortnight-long pilgrimage which began from July 27. Several others were rescued by Jal police as they were seen being swept away by the current of the swollen river when they were collecting the holy water. Three pilgrims from Haryana who are feared to have drowned in Ganga while bathing on Tuesday are still missing. Search for them is on, said police. Four pilgrims from other States died in road accidents. It is learnt that close to 50 Kanwadiyas have been rescued by the Jal police so far. Observers say that despite teams of dog squads, Jal police and divers being deployed and barricades/ caution boards being installed on the ghats, the toll of ten lives till Wednesday is something high. One of them says that the figure of the pilgrims touching three crore, arrangements put into place have fallen flat.
It is learnt that while a Kanwadiya drowned another was killed by a truck on Bahadarabad- Delhi National Highway on July 30. Besides, a 30 year-old-Kanwadiya was killed and another was seriously injured-both from Meerut riding a two-wheeler- after a tree fell on them during torrential rain near Shivpuri area of Muni Ki Reti in Rishikesh on Sunday morning. On August 4, two Kanwadiyas fell from the tractor trolley they were on near Bongla village in Bahadrabad and died.
While the focus of the police is mainly on the main ghats of Ganga and Har Ki Paidi, many of the pilgrims collected water from Saptrishi Ganga and Chhoti Nehar area. Many had drowned here while collecting water or bathing in the past. Apda Mitras deployed at Saprishi Ghat no 11 saved a pilgrim from Sonepat identified as Sanjeet Singh from drowning. While bathing in Ganga along with his friends, he was swept away by the swift current of the river. Seeing him battling for life, the Apda Mitras present there jumped into the river and saved him.
Jal Police said that given the rising water level of Ganga in view of the incessant rain in the hills and the plains, they are facing difficulty in conducting rescue operation. On Monday, the water level of Ganga reached the danger mark. Jal police further said that rescuing the drowning and fishing out the bodies was proving difficult for them, given the swollen state of the river.
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