Instead of learning a lesson from the recent Beas River tragedy, tourists visiting the hill state seemingly haven't learnt any lesson and continue to venture into dangerous spots, even as the administration waking up from its deep slumber has put some sign boards on roadsides.
From Mandi town to Thalout where the incident took place, hordes of tourists were seen venturing into the river banks.Cops face a tough time near the Hanogi temple where tourists were getting their photos clicked on a suspension bridge.
The bridge connecting a few villages with the highway is considered dangerous. Roshan Lal, who runs a small shop near the bridge, told that he was standing near the bridge for the whole day to warn the tourists as there has been no warning board near it.
“The tourists often gather here in large numbers to get group photograph which could lead to any accident as the bridge swings. The bridge is also very old and the wooden sleepers have decayed,” he said, adding that despite efforts put by locals to alert the tourists about their safety, they often pay no heed to warnings.
The various stretch of the Beas River where the national disaster response force (NDRF) teams were carrying search operations to find the missing bodies of the students who were washed away have also virtually turned into tourist spots. The visitors halt at these points to take photographs. This not only diverts the attention of the people involved in rescue operation but also creates traffic chaos.
Despite repeated requests from the NDRF men, some of ventured neared the riverbank.
“To our surprise, despite knowing that we are searching for the dead bodies of the students, a Chandigarh boy wanting raft ride came to us,” said a NDRF personnel involved in the rescue operation.
“Even as we asked him to leave as it was a rescue operation, he was adamant and even offered money,” he added.On the tragedy spots also large number of people had gathered. However, the administration had on Friday blocked the road by digging big pits and fenced it with barbed wires. It was the same road which the Hyderabad students had taken to reach the river bank on the fateful day.
Purn Chand, who is the eyewitness of the incident said, “Had the administration put up such sings before, the tragedy would have been averted. But it is an irony, our administration wakes up when the tragedy strikes,” said Puran Chand, adding that the tourists, too, ignore the warning which leads to such incident.