Family of a girl swallowed by drainage holds government responsible for the tragedy

July 17, 2017 03:15 AM Khilak Budhathoki

KATHMANDU, July 16: Jhanknath Phuyal, a permanent resident of Nuwakot, owns a house and a confectionary in Kathmandu. He and his wife were living a happy life with his perfect family of four, including a son and a daughter until recent. But their happiness could not last forever. Since Friday, his family has not been able to get over a serious tragedy. 

On Sunday, in one of the rooms of his house in ward-4 of Tarkeshwar Municipality, his wife was grieving in one corner while Jhanknath himself was lying in another corner with a grief-stricken face. Their ten-year-old son Bijay was also numb. A pall of gloom has descended on their home.

The couple recently lost their 12-year-old daughter Binita. It was hard for Bijay to accept the demise of his loving sister and a friend with whom he used to go to school and play with. Their parents greatly appreciated and enjoyed their unbreakable bond. Binita was a sixth grader and Bijay was in grade three at Eureka School.

“We had a happy family but the government has snatched away our happiness,” Jhanknath told Republica. He has held the government responsible for the death of his daughter. According to him, if the drainage was properly managed his daughter wouldn't have been trapped to death.

How the mishap occurred?

Binita was returning home on Friday from her shop, which is about half kilometer away, when it was raining heavily. It has been years since the condition of road has remained pathetic in the area. Due to the rainfall, water from the open drainage had gathered in the road creating a pond-like illusion. The little girl failed to see the drainage due to the water. As a result, she got fell into the drainage and was swept down to Mahadev River and finally to Bishnumati River, which was around 700 meters away from the place of accident. Though the onlookers immediately rushed toward the river to rescue her, they couldn't find her. Later, she was rescued alive by the police after almost an hour. She was immediately taken to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital but unfortunately she was declared dead by the hospital at around 6:30 pm.

Carelessness of the government 

The drainage from where Binita had fallen remains unmanaged since several years. According to Saraswoti Shrestha, a local, last year a twenty-year-old boy was trapped in the same drainage. However, he was rescued from another hole which 100 meters away from the place. Locals have accused the government of neglecting their security.
We want justice: family members

“There aren't any second thoughts that the government has put us through this pain. So, the government owes us justice,” said Sita Ram Phuyal, uncle of the deceased. Father of the deceased has demanded punishment for the authorities responsible for managing the drainage. 

“The government can never give us what we loss but at least it can give us justice,” said Jhanknath.

Hume pipes set up by locals 

 Following the incident of Friday, locals have placed hume pipes at the incident site for minimizing risk. “The house of Rameshwar Bohora, mayor of Tarkeshwar municipality, lies in this ward,” said Nabaraj Pudasaini, a local adding, “Despite witnessing such a major accident, he has not yet visited the place of accident.” 

So, in order to challenge the government, the locals decided to do something within a day that the government could not do for years.

What Tarkeshwar's mayor has to say? 

Rameshwar Bohora, mayor of Tarkeshwar Municipality 

I live in the same ward where the accident took place. We were aware that the locals were being troubled by the appalling condition of the road. We had sanctioned budget for the new fiscal year for managing the drainage. But sadly, we witnessed the accident before we could do that. I accept that it was our fault too because if we had done it earlier we wouldn't have had to experience this. It has just been few months that we are here and at this time we have just managed to formulate plans. Currently, the family members of the victim are grief-stricken. So, I will meet them after a few days. We are ready to do everything that a local unit can.

Satya was swept away on the same day 

Thirteen-year-old Satya Sapkota, a student of Brihaspati Vidyasadan, Naxal dropped at Samakhusi Chowk from a vehicle. As the road was full of water, she chose to take another way to her home. But there was an overflowing drainage on the way which she assumed to be a waterlogged road. She was swept away by the water current but the locals saw the little girl being carried away by the water and immediately rescued her alive some 30 meters below the place of accident.

Bibeksheel's memorandum

Raising their anger against Satya's accident, Bibeksheel Nepali party has submitted a memorandum to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City. A team led by Ranju Darshana (one of the candidates for the mayoral post of Kathmandu) submitted the memorandum to the metropolis. 

“We wanted to submit the memorandum directly to the mayor,” said Darshana. But unfortunately, the team could not meet the mayor who was out for some work. So, they handed the letter to the secretariat of deputy mayor. As mentioned in the memorandum, Kathmandu's mayor has failed to live up to his words. The party has even urged for proper management of the roads.

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