Tragedy befalls Srinagar family on picnic to Drang waterfall

Tragedy befalls Srinagar family on picnic to Drang waterfall

Two cousin sisters drown after hydel dept releases water into canal

Baramulla: Two teenage cousin sisters drowned to death after a sudden flow of water to a power canal washed them away at Ferozpur Nallah in Drang tourist resort in Tangmarg area on Wednesday.

Two other family members were also stuck in the waters, but they survived and are being treated at a Srinagar hospital.

It was the birthday of one of the deceased girls, who had insisted on going for the picnic, her father said. Eyewitnesses said that at least four family members were washed away by the water that was suddenly released by the employees of Micro Hydel Power Project Drang.

“Two girls were taking photographs when a sudden discharge of water washed them away along with two other family members,” said Manzoor Ahmed, a resident of Drang, who was present at the spot. “Two persons were rescued and they were alive but the two girls who were later fished out had died.”

Two families—both close relations—one from Nawabazar and another from Bemina area of Srinagar had left for Drang for a picnic trip. Little did they know that they would be with the bodies of their daughters in the afternoon. The two deceased girls were identified as Utba, 17, daughter of Muhammad Ashraf Khan, and Insha, 19, daughter of Bilal Ahmed Khan.

“It was my daughter Utba’s birthday today. She insisted on a picnic trip and I couldn’t say no. We decided to go to Drang,” said Muhammad Ashraf Khan. “She was my only child. My daughter and her cousin sister Insha requested us to allow them to take a few photographs in a nearby canal. I told them go ahead but be careful. They were clicking pictures and all of a sudden a huge discharge of water took them away. I tried to save them but I too was taken away by the water. I was saved because I got stuck on a rock.”

With tears in his eyes, Ashraf said that he was pulled out by locals and taken to a nearby medical facility where he gained consciousness after some time. “When I enquired about my daughter and her cousin sister, I was told they were fished out dead,” said Ashraf. He said locals pulled out the two cousin sisters out the water after hectic efforts.

Locals of Drang said that today’s incident was the second of its kind this year. “We had requested the authorities including SDM Tangmarg to close the canal, given the fact that the area is a tourist spot, but our pleas fell on deaf ears,” said Aijaz Ahmed, a local resident.

He said a timely siren and announcement could have prevented today’s tragic incident. “There is an announcement system but that is for employees only. The employees handling this power project are callous and least bothered about human lives,” he said.

Sub District Magistrate Tangmarg Sameer Jan said that he was aware of the incident at Drang. “It’s very unfortunate that two lives were lost. We have taken note of the incident and the allegations by parents of the two deceased girls. We are investigating the incident thoroughly,” he said. “There are two survivors of the incident. We will talk to them also and get their feedback as to what actually happened and who is at fault. Action will be taken if any employee is found guilty.”

A police official at Tangmarg police station said they have registered a case and investigations have been taken up.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the entire locality at Nawabazar where the bodies of the two cousin sisters were kept together. “They are maternal cousins and it was decided by their relatives to mourn their death together at one place only—Nawabazar,” said the relative of a deceased girl.



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