BHOPAL: For residents of 100 quarters slum dwellings in Bhopal’s Piplani area, the ten-day long Ganapati festival culminated in a tragedy, as 11 people, including two teenagers, drowned during the Ganesha idol immersion in the Chhota Talab (Lower Lake) in the wee hours on Friday.
Eleven youngsters from a single slum area, aged between 15 and 30 years, which included 15-year-old Parvez Khan (a Muslim teenager who has actively involved in Ganapati festival of the locality since last four years) and 16-year-old Karan, drowned in the lower lake near the Khatalpura Ghat – close to the Madhya Pradesh state police headquarters at around 4.30 am.
Six to eight others, who were part of the immersion procession, either managed to swim to safety or were saved by boatmen and others present at the scene.
Later, 11 bodies were fished out of the swollen lower lake by the NDRF and SDERF teams, which swung into action almost 15 minutes to half an hour after tragedy struck. However, senior police officers claimed rescue operations started as soon as word of tragedy reached them.
State Urban Development and Housing Minister Jaivardhan Singh said his government had announced Rs 11 lakh compensation to each of the 11 bereaved families. The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) also announced Rs 2 lakh each for the bereaved families.
Expressing grief over the early morning incident, the MP CM has ordered a magisterial probe into entire incident. "None of those whose who are found wanting in the episode will be spared," the CM said.
All the men were residents of Piplani area and aged between 22 and 28 years.