Shivamogga: The body of a class nine student was recovered on Tuesday, July 10, a day after she was swept away in a canal in Dudlimane town close to Thirthahalli taluk while crossing a footbridge on Monday, July 9.
The victim, Ashika(14), a student of Guddekere Government High School was crossing the footbridge, devoid of safety railings when she lost her balance and slipped into the river. The incident took place in front of her mother, Anita. The power of the gushing water was such that Anita's efforts to save her daughter went in vain. Search teams organised to trace the girl recovered her body on July 10, some one kilometre away from where the girl had been swept.
The locals have blamed the district administration's callous attitude for the girl's death. Notably, this is not the only footbridge that lacks basic safety. People have to risk their lives while crossing footbridges at Mundodi, Kachige, Vandagadhe, Anige. A tragedy was recently averted at the Vandagadhe footbridge where two girls were rescued after they fell into the water here.
Following Ashika's death, Shivamogga DC Lokesh M ordered temporary railings to be fixed to the footbridge at Dudlimane and has even called a tender for construction of a new bridge at the spot. However, whether similar initiatives will be taken at other footbridges in the district ahead of another tragedy needs to be seen.
As news of her death spread, state chief minister HD Kumaraswamy announced Rs 10 lakh compensation for the kin of the victim. On Tuesday, DC Lokesh paid a visit to Ashika's family and handed over a cheque of Rs five lakh towards compensation. He also inspected the entire area and the school premises.
Owing to the continuous rains pounding the district in the last couple of days, water-levels in the Tunga, Bhadra, Sharavathi, Dandavathi, Maalathi, Kumudavathi rivers have risen sharply and are nearing the danger levels.
Administration orders safety audit of footbridges
On the heels of the tragedy, the district administration has issued orders to evaluate the safety of all footbridges in the district. Zill Panchayat CEP Rakesh Kumar said that officers have been asked to prepare an estimate of repairs needed to be done for making the bridges safer.
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