September 18, 2016 09:39 PM NPT
By: Amar Khadka
KATHMANDU Sept 18: The whereabouts of nine people who went missing after Saturday's boat capsize in Saptakoshi River still remains unknown. Among the missing, three are girls, five women and one boat contractors, according to locals.
The missing have been identified as Rekha Jha, 7; Meena Jha, 25 and her three-year-old daughter Pooja Jha; Parbati Chandrabanshi, 45; and Shakuntala Chandrabanshi, 40, of Mahandra Nagar-4, Sunsari. Sita Kabirth, 30; Tanamdevi Yadav, 55; and an 11-year-old daughter of Goltu Chandrabanshi are missing. Similarly, Tufani Chandrabanshi, a contractor of the boat service is also among those missing in the accident.
As many as 37 passengers were rescued from the site immediately after the accident, according to police. Police have been deployed in Srilanka Tapu, the accident site, and the team is collecting further information about missing people, Poshraj Pokharel, chief of District Police Office said.
As many as five teams have been deployed in motorboats and boats to search for the missing persons since Sunday morning, he said. “The rescue operation is expected to be easier as the water level in Saptakoshi has receded on Sunday,” according to him.
The boat had met with an accident while it was going to Prakashpur from Srilanka Tapu of Sunsari. SriLanka Tapu is a settlement of nearly 12000 populations. It is an isolated area and boats ares only means to cross the Saptakoshi River.
More than 50 persons have died in the last three decades in the course of crossing the river. Politicians often promise to either relocate the settlement or arrange for alternative to boats, according to locals. “But they never fulfill their promises.”
“The District Administration Office has requsted the Ministry of Home Affairs to relocate the settlement toi a safer area,” Chief District Officer Mohan Bahadur Chapagain said.
Meanwhile, a three-member committee led by assistant CDO Kamal Bahadur Thapa has been formed to investigate into the accident. The committee has been asked to submit its report within seven days. The local authority has also made it mandatory to wear life jackect while crossing the Saptakoshi River.