Mangaluru, May 31, 2018: The pall of gloom seen at the house of the Acharyas in Padubidri on May 30, Wednesday following the death of their nine-year-old daughter Nidhi Acharya, a class four student, who was washed away in the floods due to heavy rain just about a kilometre from the house when she was returning on the bicycle being ridden by her elder sister Nisha Acharya on May 29, Tuesday evening.
Nidhi Acharya’s body was traced in the shrubs near the place where she drowned on may 30, Wednesday. The body was brought home after the post-mortem. Nidhi Acharya’s parents, Asha Acharya and Umesh Acharya, were inconsolable. So was Nisha Acharya, Asha Acharya was wailing. Relatives and neighbours tried to console them. The 14-year-old Nisha Acharya cried sadly.
When mother, Asha Acharya was going around the body as part of religious rituals, she said: “Come back my child. You have to go to school.” Umesh Acharya kissed Nidhi Acharya’s face. It was a heart rending scene to see both parents and Nisha Acharya hugging one another and crying. Baby Poojary, who was an eye-witness to the tragedy and whose house is about 500 metres away from the house of the Acharyas, said that she had just come out of the house after having coffee and she saw the bicycle being carried away in the floods between 5 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on may 29, Tuesday amid heavy rain. The bicycle had got off the narrow concrete road and both sisters Nidhi Acharya and Nisha Acharya were being carried away by the floods into the low-lying area. “Nisha Acharya was making all efforts to save Nidhi Acharya. Finally, she lost Nidhi Acharya,” she said.
Soon after seeing it, neighbour Poojary shouted for help. Many including Satish Shetty, and others came onto the scene. “I tried to get into the water in the fields, but after a few steps it was waist deep. But neighbours managed to rescue Nisha Acharya. However, by then Nidhi Acharya had gone out of reach,” she said.
Force of artificial floods blamed :
Local people blamed the unscientific manner in which the road widening works were being carried on National Highway 66 and a nearby company for the drowning of a nine-year-old girl, Nidhi Acharya.
Speaking to media on may 30, Wednesday, Prashanth Shetty, president of the local unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that such heavy rain was seen after years. The water in the low-lying area would have drained. But it was blocked by the Navayuga Company, undertaking the road widening work of National Highway 66, to construct a bridge towards Padubidri.
Then, there was the nearby company which had to drain water into the sea through its pipelines but it was diverting water into the fields when it rained surreptitiously so that no one would notice it, these matters were creating artificial floods, Shetty said. There was agreement from residents, who blamed the artificial floods for the tragedy.
A resident, said that a concrete road had been built in the area. The fact was that the road was being flooded and it had resulted in the tragedy in which Nidhi Acharya lost her life. “ Authorities should either construct concrete or iron bar railings on both sides of the concrete road so that people do not get washed away, with railings in place to save them,” he said.
The residents also brought the matter to the notice of Shobha Karandlaje, MP, who visited the area and consoled the parents of Nidhi Acharya here. Responding to their complaints, MP Karandlaje said that she would get a notice issued to both the companies through the authorities concerned on the flooding issue.
To complaints that water was blocked by storing soil for the construction work on Alivesetuve bridge at Hejmady village causing artificial floods, MP Karandlaje said that she would bring the matter to the notice of the authorities and ensure that there were no such blocks causing artificial floods.