Two years ago, more than twenty persons were drowned in the river Brahmani. All of them were unmarried young girls. The disaster occurred on the second day of the Raja Festival.
Balipatna and Patrapur are the two villages which stand on the opposite sides of the river Brahmani. The people of one village go to the other only with the help of boat. The boat-man belongs to the village Balipatna. In Patrapur village there is a temple where the goddess Mangala is worshipped. People in large number come from many villages and gather there to celebrate the Raja and worship the goddess.
On the second day of the Raja festival, the girls of the village Balipatna wanted to visit the famous Mangala temple which is situated in the village Patrapur on the next side of the river. They were more than ‘fifty in number. The boat man was a very simple person. He did not sense any fear when he permitted more than thirty passengers on the boat. He was a very efficient boatman. But the passengers on the boat were inefficient. The disaster took place when the boat had only two meters to reach the next bank.
The passengers were sitting on the boat. At once they stood up and planned to jump on the bank. The boatman prevented them as it was a faulty and dangerous way. But some of the passengers did not listen to the boatman’s caution. They jumped from the boat to the bank. Suddenly the boat capsized. The passengers fell into the river. Those who knew how to swim survived. They swam to the bank. But many were trapped under the overturned boat. The girls did not know swimming. They were drowned.
The boat man cried for help. But there was current in the river. The river was very deep there. So nobody had the courage to enter into the river and rescue others.
In no time, the news about the disaster reached the nearby villages. The parents of the victims and other villagers arrived on the spot. Some fishermen were employed to recover the dead bodies from the river. All the twenty bodies were recovered. They were all girls. The scene was very tragic. The parents of the girls were crying. Some of the dead girls were students and had appeared in the final High School Examination. Two or three young girls were to marry the next month. All of them died in the peak of their youth. It was really a tragic boat disaster.
The police and the District Magistrate arrived on the spot of the disaster. The boat man was arrested. However, the loss of life could not be compensated.