The Bold Voice of J&K

Drowning deaths on rise, authorities resorting to ban swimming in dangerous water-bodies in Valley

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SHAKEELA ANDRABI

SRINAGAR: Although last month, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir recorded an unusual drop in mercury, but during last week of month people were seen grappling with unusual heat wave .The mercury has touched 34.2 degree celsius which was highest temperature in the month of June after 12 years while night temperature was also recorded 6.3 degree celsius above normal. The soaring mercury made Kashmiris to explore options to beat the scorching heat. Like every summer, people including youth and teenagers are reaching various water-bodies for swimming amid soaring heat, which has also led to an increase in deaths by drowning across Kashmir. As per locals and authorities of various districts in Kashmir, unsafe and unchecked swimming practices lead to loss of precious lives every year.
As STATE TIMES went through various reports of deaths related to drowning, it found out that maximum deaths were reported last month, with most of them directly related to unsafe swimming practices. 7 youth including minors and teenagers drown in first week of July. In one recent incident, on July 4, 14-year-old Asrar Ahmad Dar drowned in Soaitang Lasjan area of Srinagar while bathing in river Jehlum. Same day in another incident, another young boy identified as Suhail Ahmad Bhat drowned in Namlam waterfall in Sheeri, Baramulla and his body was recovered on July 5. Another 3 minor were almost at the verge of drowning in North Kashmir while bathing, but were fortunately saved by efforts of people.
Experts believe that unchecked swimming practices, lack of proper swimming training and rescue measures lead to rise in deaths by drowning every year. They further said that there are no rescue teams deployed around water bodies in Kashmir. “In these incidents, only 10 percent of people are saved and 90 percent lose their lives. This year around 17 people drowned in Kashmir while only three could be saved, which tells a lot about our swimming and rescue scenario. Kashmir is a place full of water-bodies and if you compare the people with swimming and rescue training, it is barely 5 per cent. In Delhi where there are negligible water-bodies as compared to Kashmir, over 35 per cent people know swimming and rescue skills,” experts told. In Kashmir, much more water sports centers should be opened to train people. “At times people who go to rescue others, end up losing their own lives due to lack of proper training. There is also a need for more rescue squads around water-bodies so that precious lives can be saved,” said experts, adding that immediate intervention by Government and public awareness can help in improving the swimming and rescue scenario in Kashmir. It will not only help in saving lives but will also contribute in enhancing water-sports activities in Kashmir. With increasing drowning deaths, the administration at some places has resorted to ban swimming practices in dangerous water-bodies in Kashmir.

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