HUBBALLI: Two days after a girl was washed away in the gushing streams near Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa, forest and police officials said they will book cases against the trekking organisers. The trekking team was warned by the railway police and locals not to venture inside the forest as most of the streams connecting the Dudhsagar Waterfalls are in full spate.
The incident was reported on Sunday morning when a team of 13 members got down at Sonalim railway station in the wee hours. The team waited for dawn and started descending the valley. The forest department has opened up a new counter and gate at Sonalim hamlet to deter trekkers from going inside the forest as the area is receiving heavy rainfall. But to evade the eyes of the foresters and locals, the team ventured on a route less taken and more difficult one.
When the team reached the ‘nala’ (canal) which flows near Sonalim, they could not gauge the under currents. Four of the trekking members, including Suhagata Basu (25), an IT employee from Pune and native of West Bengal, were washed away while attempting to cross the nala with the help of a rope. While three of them were rescued by the locals and other trekking members, Suhagata could not be traced. Her body was found a day later, on Monday, 2.5 km downstream. A senior forest official from the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary told Express that the organisers from Pune will be booked and prosecuted for entering the forest illegally and also risking the lives of the participants.
“The cases will be booked against trekking organiser Vaibhav Pimplekar from Pune. The team had no expertise in trekking through gushing streams in the Western Ghats. There is a large difference between crossing the streams in Central India and Western Ghats. The Dudhsagar area is one of the highest rainfall receiving places in India and during monsoon all the nalas swell making it impossible to cross. The team did not even take the help from locals and had not hired anyone as guide from the village. This cost the team and they returned back after the accident. Had they been able to cross the nala and reached the Dudhsagar river, the death toll could have been higher,” an officer said.
After the incident, both personnel of the forest department and Railway Protection Force (RPF) have beefed up vigil along the railway stations where the trekking teams can sneak in.
GUSHING IN SPLENDOUR
Shot to fame after the waterfalls was shown in Kannada hit film Myna and Hindi film Chennai Express
The three-tier waterfalls takes a plunge from 320 meters of height with a railway line passing in the middle
The colour of water falling from a large height appears like milk, hence the name Dudhsagar
Both trekking on railway track and forest has been banned till October