Depth Of Begnas Tragedy
The latest boating tragedy at Begnas Lake of Kaski district is a grim reminder of the fact that lack of stringent safety rules is the main culprit behind such incidents. Some people may find safety harnessing and equipment uncomfortable, uneasy and cumbersome but such requirement should never be compromised. Had the concerned people taking the recreational boating trip in the lake followed safety regulation and put on the life jackets, the tragedy could possibly be averted. It is reported that the boating turned tragic as the passengers were not wearing life jackets necessary for their safety in case of an accident. One wonders whether there was the presence of police personnel and concerned regulating authorities to make sure that those providing boating services to the visitors abide by the safety regulations. Some visitors might be negligent and reckless by nature but the boat operators and the police administration cannot turn a bling eye into the grave issue like life safety during boating. It is not possible to expect everybody seeking water sports and adventure a good swimmer but their lives could be saved by enforcing strict safety rules while in water. When there is no accident or a threatening situation for life, we tend to see the rigorous safety rules as redundant. Such a perspective is highly erroneous. When a life claiming accident happens, there is no second chance to rethink and make correction for the victims. The issue of minor inconvenience should not be given priority when the main question is regarding life or death.
So far, eight bodies have been recovered and two more are still missing in the Begnas boating tragedy. We often hear of boat capsizing and drowning in Phewa and Begnas lakes of Pokhara. The latest Begnas tragedy is probably the worst in history where ten recreation seekers drowned. This incident should not come and pass without any lesson learning and meaning. From safety point of view of the visitors, this should come as a grave lesson and eye opener. The government should not overlook the depth and seriousness of this issue. Instead, it should review the safety situation of all the water recreation centres all over the country and put in place strict safety rules to save the lives of visitors. The rules should apply in all the lakes, ponds, rivers and swimming pools where visitors may face dangers in course of rafting, swimming, boating, kayaking and other adventure sports. It is reported that none of the ten people on the Begnas boating trip had put on life jackets. What’s more, the man steering the boat is said to have lacked efficiency to cope with emergency situation. The boat had holes which led to sinking around the central area of the lake. When precaution is lacking about safety aspect, such tragedies are going to occur on regular basis. Regulating authorities need not only impose safety rules without any compromise but also review the skills of the boat men. In addition, the water worthiness of the vessels should be thoroughly examined regularly. Only technical experts can carry out such works. Visitors with very young kids should also not be allowed to go on boating trips.