As there is no bridge over the Kalipenu river, the locals depend on the cable to cross the river. It was for the past several decades that the cable had been their lifeline. DC Image
BHUBANESWAR: A group of people had a close shave on Saturday afternoon as after a cable which they used to cross a swollen river snapped as they were trying to take a body for cremation in Odisha's Kandhamal district, nearly 250 km from here
As per reports, the people belonging to Bagdi village were taking the body of an elderly to the crematorium across the nearby Kalipenu river to conduct the last rites.
As there is no bridge over the Kalipenu river, the locals depend on the cable to cross the river. It was for the past several decades that the cable had been their lifeline.
With no permanent bridge, the relatives of deceased woman Padmabati Pradhan decided to take her body to the cremation ground on the other side of the river using the existing cable.
After placing Padmabati’s body in a coffin, the relatives were crossing the swollen river when the cable snapped. Fortunately, nobody got washed away in the strong current of the river. However, other locals had their hearts in mouth after watching the relatives trying to swim to the shore.
Some of the courageous youths immediately came to the rescue of the ill-fated people and rescued them.
Not only Bagdi, but the locals of Badli, Dakli, Srakapanga, Madiraha, Minamalu and Bandipadar areas also risk their lives to cross the river in a precarious manner owing to the absence of a bridge.
The locals on Sunday alleged that despite repeatedly raising the issue, the administrative officials have not taken any step for the construction of a bridge over the river.
"Everything, including the Anganwadi centre, college and other establishments are located on the other side of the river. My mother-in-law died on Saturday and my relatives were taking her body when the cable snapped. Those who were taking the body for cremation got swept away for nearly half-a-kilometre. The local youths came to their rescue. Besides, as many of them knew swimming, they managed to reach the shore safely," said Rekha Pradhan, a relative.
Rekha further said that the residents faced problems due to the absence of a bridge. "The District Collector is not taking any step even if we have brought the matter to his notice several times in the past," she alleged.
The Kandhamal district administration officials could not be contacted over the allegations.