No 'Raksha Bandhan' as Tikuliya mourns boat capsize victims

KATHMANDU: The locals of Tikuliya in Gaur Municipality-4 did not celebrate Raksha Bandhan today, in view of a boat capsize in Lal Bakaiya River where two women drowned while four others including a minor girl are still missing.

The village has gone into mourning following the incident which occurred during the eve of the festival on Saturday.

“Today’s festival will come again next year but the lives this village has lost will never,” local Sanjay Shani said. “The grieving villagers have decided not to celebrate Raksha Bandhan this year.”

The boat ferrying around 30 passengers including women and children had capsized mid-way as strong water currents in the flooded river rammed it into a pillar of an under construction bridge.

Two missing women were found dead eight kilometres away from Tikuliya in neighbouring region of India on Sunday while the whereabouts of a minor girl and three others remains unknown.

As soon as the boat crashed into the pillar, 15 of the passengers grasped the iron rods in the pillar while 9 others including a boy swam for their lives, according to witnesses.

According to Chief District Officer Govinda Prasad Rijal, a massive search operation is in progress where teams of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, Nepal Army, India’s Seema Suraksha Bal and Indian Army are searching for the missing persons round-the-clock.

In the meantime, local administration has decided to provide Rs 100,000 through District Disaster Management Committee as relief sum to the deceased’s kin, informed Rijal.