Pre-Chhath tragedy: 5 die in Samastipur as earth caves in
PATNA: Five people, including two women and a minor, died when a mound of earth caved in while they were digging it to make earthen ovens for the ‘Chhath’ festival in Bihar’s Samastipur district on Friday.
District officials said the incident happened near Maiya-Pokhra Ghat at Najirpur village, 83 km northeast of state capital Patna, when people were digging the soil to make earthen ovens to prepare prasad for the four-day ‘Chhath’ festival begining on Sunday. The incident left at least 10 people injured, they added.
The officials said the bodies were handed over to family members after the post-mortem examination and a case was registered in this connection under section 174 (unnatural death) of Criminal Procedure Code at Ujiyarpur police station of the district. They said 20 people were trapped under the soil and five of them died.
Soon after the incident, the locals rushed to the accident site and pulled out some of those trapped under the soil, the officials said. A JCB machine was also pressed into service to rescue the trapped villagers, they added.
Samastipur superintendent of police (SP) Harpreet Kaur said the deceased had been identified as Runa Devi, 40, Rajkumari
Devi, 55, Lalo Paswan ,50, Shivji Singh ,51, and Amit Kumar, 16.
She said that the injured were initially attended to at Samastipur sadar hospital and later referred to Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH), about 40 km away for better treatment.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
Meanwhile Ujiyarpur MP and state BJP president Nityanand Rai, Samastipur District magistrate (DM) Chandrasekhar Prasad Singh and other official visited the spot and later went to the DMCH to inquire about the condition of the injured.
Some of the injured have been identified as Ramesh Kumar, Shankar Paswan, Nitin Kumar, Arun Poddar, Mithlesh Kumar, Chandan Kumar, Rajiv Kumar and Ishwar Thakur.
■ Rescue operation going on at Najirpur village in Samastipur district on Friday.