Out to fetch water, four family killed after vehicle plunges into gorge - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Out to fetch water, four family killed after vehicle plunges into gorge

ByAshiq Hussain, Srinagar
Jul 10, 2024 07:04 AM IST

The incident triggered massive protests in Rajpora village of Handwara, with locals criticising the administration and public health engineering and Jal Shakti department’s apathy over the lack of potable water.

Four members of a family out to fetch drinking water from a nearby spring were killed when the vehicle that they were travelling in plunged into a gorge in Handwara in the Kupwara district.

Locals said they have to walk around 1.5 km every day to fetch water. (File)
Locals said they have to walk around 1.5 km every day to fetch water. (File)

The incident triggered massive protests in Rajpora village of Handwara, with locals criticising the administration and public health engineering (PHE) and Jal Shakti department’s apathy over the lack of potable water.

The incident comes in the backdrop of the Jal Shakti department’s claims of providing tap water to 60% rural households.

The protesters dubbed the deaths as “murder”, alleging that their pleas to the seeking tap water to some 600 families have fallen on deaf ears for the past many years. They argued that the incident would not have happened if the area had proper water supply.

Police said Ghulam Rasool, 62, his two daughters Rifat Aara and Shabnam Aara in their late teens or early 20s and the son Tahir Ahmad Bhat, 30, were killed when their mini-truck plunged into a nallah in Rajpora at around 11 pm on Monday.

“They were coming down from the slope after fetching water in a small tank from a Chesma when the vehicle slipped and fell into the gorge,” an official in the Handwara police control room said.

Locals said they have to walk around 1.5 km every day to fetch water.

The villagers, after participating in the last rites for the deceased, staged a protest and raised slogans against the administration.

“We are not even able to mourn now. We had repeatedly told them about the water woes. The deputy commissioner (DC) knows that we have a problem. Till now, they have not been able to supply water or even provide supply tankers in arid areas. This is murder which the district administration should take responsibility for,” a protester said.

Another protester said they have been reeling under water scarcity for a long time, adding, “A whole family was wiped off fetching drinking water. Nobody cares that we should be provided drinking water. We even went for a Hartal but the government didn’t care,” she said.

DC Ayushi Sudan and PHE executive engineer in Handwara Bilal Ahmad Malik did not respond to calls from HT.

Additional deputy commissioner Aziz Ahmad Rather, meanwhile, visited the area on Tuesday. He said the government has announced an immediate relief of 1 lakh to the family, adding that temporary arrangements to bring water down from the source will be put in place immediately.

“A water supply scheme is already being constructed which will take some six months to complete and till that time we will try to bring down the water from the spring source for easy fetching. Tanker services will also be started,” he said.

He said they will also try to ascertain facts owing to the concerns of locals and will order the officials of PHE not to leave stations till further orders.

“From now on PHE will work in double shifts to complete the work and every official of PHE from Executive engineer Handwara to junior engineers can’t leave the station unless they get permission from the DC office,” he said.

Meanwhile, Handwara’s former MLA and Peoples Conference chairperson Sajad Lone expressed his condolences. “Ghulam Rasool Bhat of Rajpora Handwara, his two daughters and his son died last night in an accident. It is the most distressing news that one can wake up to. I personally knew Ghulam Rasool. May Allah grant them Jannat. May the departed souls rest in peace,” he wrote in a post on X.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 15, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On