Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 22:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced an ex gratia of Rs one lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) for the families of each of the four high school students who drowned in the Barang-Puri main canal on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister expressed his deepest sympathies to the bereaved families.
Fourteen class IX students of Government High School at Rail Vihar in Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar had skipped school on Tuesday and had gone to Barang on the outskirts of the capital city to while away time.
While in the area, they decided to take a bath in the Barang –Puri main canal that proved fatal for four of them.
Four students had jumped into the canal to rescue a friend whose feet had slipped while he was bathing. Though one of them was rescued, four others were swept away by the strong current in the canal.
The bodies of all the four students who had drowned in the canal on Tuesday, have been fished out.
While the bodies of three students – identified as Abhijit Sabat, Bunty Digal and Manas Nayak – were recovered from the canal by fire brigade personnel yesterday, the body of the fourth student Pratap Routray was fished out at around 5 am today.
The Sub Collector and District Education Officer visited the school this morning and began an inquiry into the tragic incident. They spoke to teachers, students and guardians in the course of their inquiry.
It may be noted that Minister for Schools and Mass Education Debi Prasad Mishra had yesterday ordered the district administration to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report within 24 hours.
Mishra and local BJD MLA Priyadarshi Mishra also visited the school today to have a first hand account of the situation after the tragic incident.
According to the statement of a student, who was also in the group that had gone to take bath in the canal, a lady teacher of the school had scolded them and had asked them not to come to school for 15 days as they were found playing during recess by the teacher.