Five drown as car plunges into Visvesvaraya Canal
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Five drown as car plunges into Visvesvaraya Canal

November 8, 2023

Group from Tiptur was returning from Mysuru via Pandavapura-Nagamangala route when tragedy struck

Pandavapura: Three months after three women and a girl drowned in Visvesvaraya Canal when their car veered off the road at Gamanahalli, about 40 km from Banaghatta, in Srirangapatna taluk on July 29, five persons drowned when the car in which they were travelling fell into Visvesvaraya Canal at Banaghatta in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district last evening.

The deceased have been identified as K.T. Krishnappa (60), Chandrappa (61), Dhananjaya (55), Babu and Prasanna, all residents of Kaidalu village in Tiptur taluk of Tumakuru district.

The group had been to Mysuru to attend an event and was returning via Pandavapura-Nagamangala route when the tragedy occurred. At approximately 4.35 pm, while travelling in a Tata Indica car (KA-14-N-2457) on Pandavapura-Nagamangala Main Road, the car driver encountered two individuals on a motorcycle who suddenly appeared in front of the vehicle.

In an attempt to avoid a collision, the driver lost control of the car, causing it to plunge into the 30-foot deep canal. Trapped inside the submerged car, the occupants were unable to escape and tragically drowned.

Local residents, who witnessed the accident, rushed to the scene, attempting to rescue those inside the car by diving into the canal. However, the strong water force and the release of water from the KRS Dam on Monday made it impossible to reach the car or its occupants.

Rash driving: DC

Deputy Commissioner of Mandya Dr. Kumara said prima facie, it appears to be a case of rash driving. Local authorities, including the Police and the Fire and Emergency Services personnel, conducted a search for the car for over an hour but were unable to locate it.

Expert swimmers and divers were then summoned to the scene, who eventually found the submerged car. With the assistance of a crane, the car was lifted out of the canal, revealing the bodies of the five victims inside.

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During the recovery of the bodies, a mobile phone within the car began to ring, leading the Police to contact the number from which the call originated. Through this call, the authorities learned that the deceased individuals were from Tiptur. A case has been registered at Pandavapura                                Police Station.

Three hours after the incident took place, MLA Darshan Puttannaiah visited the spot. Prior to his arrival, SP N. Yatish visited and later DC Dr. Kumara, ZP CEO Sheik Tanveer Asif, Assistant Commissioner Nandeesh, Tahsildar Santosh and other officials arrived and conducted an inspection.

New bridge construction in progress

Construction of another bridge near the Visvesvaraya Canal is currently underway, involving the demolition of a section of the retaining wall to facilitate the bridge’s construction. This infrastructure development project was initiated to enhance the region’s transportation network.

Regrettably, the absence of a retaining wall has posed a significant safety concern. A recent incident involving a cement-laden truck from Ballari falling into the canal resulted in the collapse of the retaining wall. This, in turn, contributed to the tragic car accident from Tiptur as the retaining wall was not in place to prevent such occurrences.

Local residents are deeply concerned about these accidents and held both the responsible officials and the contractor accountable for these tragedies, attributing them to negligence.

Series of tragedies in canals of Mandya that lack retaining walls

The persistent issue of vehicles falling into canals in Mandya district has instilled fear among the local population, with more than 100 lives tragically lost to date. While most of the canals do not have retaining walls or crash barriers, the other cause of these tragedies appears to be reckless and negligent driving.

Over the past four months, three separate incidents have occurred in the Visvesvaraya Canal. On July 27, a car fell into the canal near Tibbanahalli in Mandya taluk, claiming the life of one individual. On July 29, four persons lost their lives when their car veered off the road and plunged into the canal at Gamanahalli in Srirangapatna. Now, another five individuals have met a similar fate after their car plunged into the same canal.

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A particularly harrowing incident took place on Nov. 24, 2018, when a private bus tumbled into the canal near Kanaganamaradi, resulting in the tragic deaths of 30 passengers. The bus was not deemed fit for passenger transportation, yet it continued to ferry passengers, leading to the devastating outcome.

 In 2011, residents of Aralakuppe and surrounding villages in Pandavapura taluk were returning in a tempo after attending a function in Nanjangud, when it fell into Undubathi Lake on the outskirts of Mysuru which had killed 24 people.

Tragically, this pattern of accidents continues, despite their frequency. Authorities responsible for public safety have yet to take adequate measures to address this ongoing problem.

DC had ordered assessment of constructing retaining walls

In August this year, Mandya DC Dr. Kumara had constituted Committees in Mandya taluk, Maddur taluk, Malavalli, Nagamangala, K.R. Pet, Srirangapatna and Pandavapura taluk to oversee the construction and maintenance of retaining walls or crash barriers along canals and lake bunds in the district, with the aim of preventing similar incidents in the future.

The DC had instructed the officials responsible for the lakes and canals in Mandya District to urgently assess the need for repairing existing crash barriers and promptly report their findings to the Committee. The goal was to address any maintenance issues and enhance safety measures, thereby preventing potential dangers posed by the lakes and canals in the district.

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