MANGALORE: Five children drowned in two stone quarries at Bajpe and Moodbidri police station limits on Sunday.
The first incident took place at Mijar in Badaga Edapadavu village near Bajpe. Meghashri (12), Vanishri (11) and Yakshitha (6), daughters of Vasu Shettigar, had gone to a nearby stone quarry to play, sources at Bajpe police station said.
The children slipped into the quarry which was full of water and drowned. Their parents, engrossed in work, were unaware of their children’s movements.
On realising that their children were missing, the parents looked for them everywhere, but their search was rendered futile. Later, they alerted a few locals who found footwear floating in the quarry water. All the three bodies were fished out.
The second incident took place at Malady in Beluvayi village near Moodbidri. The victims have been identified as Sukanya (7) and Suraksha (4), daughters of Suresh, a daily wager in Beluvayi. Sources at Moodbidri police station said there was no one at home when the two girls left to play. When their parents realised that their daughters were missing, they launched a search. Both the bodies were later fished out of the quarry.
Though the district administration has a list of guidelines in place on stone quarrying, most contractors have not been following them and the quarries are left open. During the monsoon, water fills these quarries, which in turn leads to several drowning deaths.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim has asked all contractors to fill up their quarries within the next five days.
He said proper fences need to be erected at stone quarries to prevent people from entering the premises. Even permit holders will not be allowed to continue quarrying if they don’t follow these instructions, Ibrahim said.
Mangalore North MLA Moideen Bava, tahsildar Mohan Rao, assistant commissioner Prashanth and MP Nalin Kumar Kateel visited Shettigar’s house and consoled the family members. Bava handed over a cheque of `4.5 lakh to Shettigar. The family of the other victims will also be given `3 lakh as compensation.