Siar Baba in Reasi, a panoramic tourist spot known for its beautiful waterfall with its roaring and gurgling sound, considered one of the best in North India descending from a height of 100 feet, on Sunday came into limelight in a different way, a heart rending tragedy striking here as eight precious lives were lost and more than 33 others getting injured. The scenic beauty around and the fall itself had tempted them to beat the heat and venture for enjoying a bath in the icy cold water in these sultry summer days.
How could a loose rock from nowhere roll down through the waterfall from the hillock resulting in the debris falling on unsuspecting people enjoying the bath beneath, is quite baffling and can, in all likelihood, be linked to the after effects of torrential rains that might have probably caused the boulder getting loose from its attachment . In any case, the tragedy has struck with this hope that this should be the last one of such nature or of any other form. That could be ensured only if such steps that could prevent recurrence of any such catastrophe are taken.
Undoubtedly, this is a tragedy about which no one had inclination, not even in the least, but it proved nothing less than a calamity of the sorts for those for whom the bath proved their last instead of making it their memorable occasion. It could also be termed as a failure of the administration in not putting up a warning or any such arrangement about the shooting boulders or any type of material expected to fall from above along with the water coming down to enable bathers to exercise due caution.
So far as preventive measures are concerned, it could have been the other way round in the shape of keeping the actual bathing spot separated and away from the right angle position between the ground where water comes gushing down and the point above where it falls to avert anything rolling down and falling vertically on people taking a dip and likely to cause harm to them. Anyway, the tragedy struck and claimed sevenpeople and many got wounded on account of a boulder rolling down and hitting the people while they were bathing and that is quite unfortunate.
Governor N .N. Vohra has ordered free medical treatment for all the injured as their evacuation was not advised by the attending doctors. The State Government has also announced Rs.4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 30000 to the injured as initial relief.
The other part of the tragedy is that it laid bare the scant facilities and negligible medical care at the District Hospital so much so that even the post mortem on the dead was conducted in the open as there was no adequate space in the mortuary room of the hospital. The ire of the people against the hospital administration was seen in the form of demonstrations making the CMO Reasi flee who reportedly had reached there four hours after the tragic incident.
It should be among the priorities of the State Government to find out the exact cause of the incident and to have it looked into by experts and evolve a remedial response to prevent any sort of such tragedies especially at tourist spots. At the same time, the management of hospitals should be improved in form and structure to meet any unforeseen eventualities and emergencies so that proper medical treatment was assuredly available