Six villagers honoured for saving lives of hundreds in Sambalpur boat tragedy

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 Jharsuguda: The Members of Biju Patnaik Social Welfare Association felicitated six villagers including two boatmen of Lakhanpur Block who had played a vital role in rescuing passengers of ill fated boat which sunk into Hirakud Reservoir, which claimed 31 lives on 9th February. They were felicitated in a function held on Monday at Jharsuguda BJD Conference Hall.

The Members had felicitated the two boat owners Shyam Kumar Naik (40) & his brother Sushant Kumar Naik (25) of Kukurimal Village along with other four boatmen Madhusudhan Munda (20), Ghanshyam Munda (22), Sripati Gahir (22), Sidheshwar Ranbida (50) of Siapali Village of Lakhanpur Block who had turned as saviour and could able to save lives of more than hundred passengers on the day of incident.

“While taking my boat from Tilia to Larbhanga Village side Sambalpur, I saw that the boat carrying passenger of Lions Club had stopped mid-way, when I enquired over phone to the boatman about the reason, but no one had answered but as I grew suspicious, I had called the boatman second time when, he cried for help, within 12 minutes we reached the spot, and had also called in my brother Sushant to bring his boat from the other side and started rescuing the passengers by which we rescued hundreds passengers” claimed Shyam Kumar Naik

“One side where we are happy for saving lives of hundreds of passengers but at the same time we feel sorry that we could not save the lives of those small kids who got drown. If I could have received the information just 15 minutes before, then I think incident could have been averted.” Said Shyam Kumar Naik with tearful eyes while narrating the incident in the function.

 He additionally said, “Boatmen of the ill fated boat who had been arrested, even he had helped passengers and rescued but the officials who had given the fitness certificate to the boat, are also equally responsible for this incident.”

 “The brave work done by our brothers by saving more than hundreds lives, whatever honour given to them will be small. We are proud in honouring them and they all are the source of inspiration for every youth. Simultaneously, the officials who have given permission for running boat by approving the fitness certificate, they should also be punished.” said Kishore Mohanty, President of Jharsuguda Biju Patnaik Social Welfare Association.

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