VELLORE: The search operations to find 14- year-old Priyanka, who fell into a drain on Monday night near Christian Medical College (CMC) Hospital in Vellore, continued for the second consecutive day. However, the search operation that involved more than 400 men from the revenue department, Vellore Corporation, police and fire service departments was futile.
After the marathon search that stretched for over 48 hours since the girl fell into the drain in Beri Subramanya Swami Koil Street around 7 pm on Monday, the rescue team intensified the search and checked the entire stretch inch by inch on Wednesday. A 10-member team from the National Disaster Response Force(NDRF) from Arakkonam also joined the rescue team on Wednesday morning.
The team waded through knee-deep sullage in the canal till the discharge point at Palar riverbed (behind Vellore Collectorate). However, the girl’s body wasn’t found. “We strongly believe that the body is caught inside the drain beneath CMC Hospital or in the three junctions in Palace Cafe,” said station fire officer of Vellore Fire Station S Manivel.
Minister K C Veeramani visited Vellore and inspected the operation. He told media persons that the government machinery had been taking all possible measures to recover the girl’s body. Mayor P Karthiyayini and Collector R Nanthagopal also accompanied the minister. Vellore MLA V S Vijay also visited the spot.
Collector Nanthagopal told Express that the search operation was continuing non-stop. The district administration along with the police department and Vellore Corporation had been taking all measures to locate and recover the girl’s body. Six to seven earthmovers had been used in clearing blockages and de-clog drains and canals.
Holding the local body responsible for the ill-fated incident, the public strong criticised the Vellore Corporation for leaving the slabs and manholes uncovered in several places in the town. “The failure of Corporation officials to remove the encroachments over the drainage and replace broken slabs of the drain is putting the life of road users in grave danger. Monday’s incident is an example,” said a shopkeeper in Palace Cafe.
On Monday, when Priyanka and her family members were wading through the knee-deep water, she suddenly fell into the roadside drain and was pulled into a whirlpool.