21 dead as boat capsizes in Bihar, toll likely to rise

Patna: An overloaded country boat carrying more than 40 people capsized in the Ganga river near Patna ghat on January 14. Though the exact number of the casualties was not available until late evening, sources said around 21s people have died in the incident and the toll is likely to rise.

The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) have been pressed into service for rescue operations. The incident occurred when people were returning from a kite-flying event, which was organized across the river by the state government’s tourism department on Makar Sankranti on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses told this newspaper that when the incident occurred in the evening, no police or security personnel was there to monitor the event. “The kite flying event was organized on the other side of the Ghat where there was very less security. The incident occurred when the overcrowded boat was about to reach the NIT Ghat,” an eyewitness said. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe into the incident and directed the officials to intensify search and rescue operations. “This is a tragic incident and I have asked officials to intensify search and rescue operations,” he said.

The chief minister Nitish Kumar also announced an exgratia of Rs 4 lakh for the family of those who died in the incident. Patna district magistrate Sanjay Agarwal and SSP Manu Maharaj also visited the site.

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