Sunday picnic turns tragic

Sunday picnic turns tragic

June 4, 2018
  • CFTRI Scientist washed away at Chunchanakatte Falls
  • Body fished out this morning
  • Wife, 5-year-old daughter rescued by localites
  • Body kept for public viewing at CFTRI Quarters

Chunchanakatte (K.R. Nagar Taluk): The Sunday getaway to the Chunchanakatte Falls turned tragic to the family of a Scientist  at Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru when he was washed away in the strong current at the Falls yesterday afternoon.

The deceased Scientist has been identified as Dr. Somashekar (40), who was working as DBT Ramalingaswamy Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry in CFTRI.

He had been on a picnic to Chunchanakatte Falls along with his wife Prathima Tripati, 5-year-old daughter Ishani, his friend Vinay, an employee of JK Tyres and his (Vinay) daughter.

While Dr. Somashekar hailed from Bengaluru, his wife Prathima is a native of Lucknow. Incidentally, he had celebrated his birthday just two days ago.

Dr. Somashekar, the eldest among four sons of Siddaramu and Jayamma couple, residents of Chikkamaranahalli, Nelamangala in Bengaluru, also leaves behind three sisters.

About the incident: Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Somashekar, his wife and daughter along with his friend and his (Vinay) daughter, after reaching Chunchanakatte Falls, ventured into the waters to play. After a few minutes, the water level rose resulting in increase in water force which led to Dr. Somashekar getting washed away.

Why the water-level rose: Sources said that the water level increased due to surge in water flow as the Kolkata-based Graphite India Ltd. Mini Hydel Plant of 18 MW (9 MW x 2) capacity at Chunchanakatte discharged water from the plant in the upper stream, which took the picnickers off guard. It was also raining heavily yesterday since 2.30 pm, sources added.

As the water level increased, there was strong current too. Dr. Somashekar and his family members, who were sitting on the rocks in the middle, began to move towards the banks and were finding it difficult and shouted for help. Some localites, who were present there, gave them a saree to hold on and told them to reach the banks safely. As Dr. Somashekar’s wife and daughter managed to reach the banks, Somashekar, who lost the grip of the saree, slipped and was washed away.

Not aware of the siren: Though the staff of the Hydel Plant switched on the siren to alert people downstream that water is being released, it was known only to the people living in the surroundings but tourists, who visit Chunchanakatte are unaware of the siren and usually mistook it to be that of a factory.

Though there is a warning board telling about the siren, most of the tourists do not bother to look at the sign board, a villager said and added that the sound of the siren is muffled with the sound of water and cannot be heard properly. Meanwhile, Vinay said that they did not hear the sound of the siren and added that he was shocked by the incident.

Relatives and colleagues paying their last respects to the departed Scientist at CFTRI Quarters

No adequate Police staff in the outpost: Sources said that there is no adequate staff in the Police Outpost in Chunchanakatte and there are no security personnel deployed near the Falls to warn tourists about the siren.

Sources also said that there are only two Police personnel deployed at the outpost and if one of them takes leave, the outpost is left with only one staff.

Need for safety measure: With no safety or any precautionary measures in place, there has been increase in the number of deaths at the Falls frequented by tourists in the weekends. Despite the deaths, the District Administration or the Tourism Department have not bothered to take any precautionary measures, alleged the villagers.

About three months ago, two tourists had met their watery graves in the Falls and now, a Scientist has lost his life, the villagers said and urged the authorities concerned to avert such incidents in future.   

READ ALSO  Chunchanakatte Falls: Beautiful but Dangerous

Body fished out today morning: As the operation to fish out the body was stalled in the evening due to bad light,  the Police along with Fire and Emergency Services personnel continued the operation early this morning. The body was retrieved at about 7.30 am and shifted to K.R. Nagar General Hospital for post-mortem. K.R. Nagar Police have registered a case in this regard.

Body brought to Mysuru: After the post-mortem, the body of Dr. Somashekar was handed over to his parents and relatives. The body was brought to CFTRI Quarters at M.G. Halli, opposite to Chandrakala Hospital on Kalidasa Road at about 12.45 pm. His wife and daughter had reached Mysuru yesterday night itself.

Arrangements were made by the CFTRI staff to keep his body in front of his Quarters at No. 51, Block No. 8, for people to pay their last respects.  CFTRI Chief Scientist Dr. R. Subramanian, HoD of Biochemistry Bhaskaran, senior scientists Dr. Balaji Prakash, Dr. Manilal and others paid their last respects.

The body of Dr. Somashekar was taken to Bengaluru at about 3 pm where the last rites would be performed today evening, according to family sources.


4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Sunday picnic turns tragic”

  1. Questo says:

    Callous disregard for the life thrives all over India. The corporations spend so much on advertising when they have a product to sell. Each such ad is designed following modern psychological/neurological-theories so as to draw the attention of those who are around it and convey the core message within a few seconds, many a time, without even requiring one to even read a line completely. When it is not about making money, in this case saving a life, the same corporations do as little as possible to notify the people. In fact, nothing more than what they are legally bound to do.

  2. Chandan says:

    Graphite India is responsible for some much court needs to decide.

  3. Life says:

    May his soul RIP, from my childhood I am reading in SOM that visitor drown but authorities have taken any action to protect human life, providing fence is good idea also please provide security & sign boards in different languages.

  4. syed matheen says:

    People should have common sense, police cannot protect all 130 CR people everyday. and cannot fence entire rivers, ponds and lakes.
    They need to use brain and stay away from dangerous place. We have several pools in Mysore pay 40 to 50 rupees and swim, life saving guards are there to protect in case of any untoward incidents. If do not know to swim stay in very shallow area and enjoy instead taking greater risk by doing adventures.
    proactive measure, Government should implement and ask all swimming pool stake holders to train minimum 100 children per year in their jurisdiction at a very nominal fee which should be affordable by all class. something similar to RTE. RTL (Right to learn) life saving methods
    At last it is about fate. What happened is very sad, life is precious take care of it.

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