GUWAHATI: Around 30-40 people are believed to be washed away during Durga idol immersion in the Mal river in the Mal Bazar region of Jalpaiguri District. 8 people have been said to have drowned during the incident. The Incident happened when the water level of the river increased suddenly while people were busy with the festivities on the last day of Durga Puja. Inadequate safety measures at the venue are said to be the main reason behind the mishap.
According to reports from the region, the water level was said to have increased suddenly and continuously for nearly 20 minutes. And people in the flood plains found it near impossible to escape the increasing torrent of water. In multiple videos that went viral on social media, many people can be seen struggling in the river as people near the banks tried to escape the raging water. The complete absence of any form of administration or safety measures in the location is clearly visible in the videos.
Another report said that the Civil Defence personnel posted in the region had asked the administration to make necessary announcements for the people to leave the sandbank. But no heed was paid and severe casualties resulted due to the same.
This sudden change in the water level of the Mal river is a very common happening. Rains in the upper mountain stretches cause these sudden but temporary changes in the water levels. A loaded lorry faced the same conditions last month. However, no casualty was reported and the crew was rescued safely an hour later.
A similar incident happened in the Gabharu river in Missamari in Sonitpur District of Assam yesterday. However, the rise in water levels was not too much and local people rescued those stuck in the water. Hence there were no casualties. Another mishap was averted when a woman who had fallen into the Brahmaputra river in Guwahati was rescued immediately after she slipped into the water.