With the onset of the monsoon, Puneites are all packed and ready with their weekend plans to enjoy the rains. Not surprising considering that Pune is well endowed with pristine lakes at Khadakvasla, Panshet and Pawna all of whom play host to Pune’s holiday revellers.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as a good break to sit back and enjoy mother nature at her best. Almost every other week, there are fresh cases of drowning accidents reported leaving many questions unanswered.
The apathy of the authorities coupled with inadequate, precautionary measures and the reckless indifference of holiday revellers is a matter of grave concern.
According to a recent report from World Health Organisation, Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. It is also said that approximately 36000 people die due to drowning
Pune365 spoke to city activists and informed citizens on the need to build greater awareness and prevent such fatalities.
Vinita Deshmukh, Consulting Editor Co-operative magazine, Journalist and RTI activist says, “Citizens must obey the warnings issued by authorities on entering the water or swimming. We have seen that despite warnings, every monsoon there are drowning deaths in Khadakwasla Lake and Bhushi Dam lake and other locales.
Revelling in the rains doesn’t have to include rowdiness, consuming alcohol and challenging the choppy waters boisterously. It is this frenzy that causes drowning incidents.
Secondly, citizens must cross check in detail with respect to the safety and credibility of raft and boating expeditions.
Deshmukh further added, Most of the time they have no permits and do not adhere to safety norms.
Just wearing life jackets will not suffice because often, the water level rises rapidly when the irrigation departments release excess water due to overfilling of dams. The expedition organisations have no idea in these situations.
Authorities on their part should make the warnings more prominent, create temporary barricades on water banks and penalise those who violate warnings.
Jaya Banerjee, Awareness should be created about dangers in a much greater way. Most importantly, there must be trained lifeguards who are vigilant and medical help must be available in seconds, without which no one should be allowed into the water.
The onus is completely on the administration and it is their negligence that highly trained lifeguards and medical help are not available. A lot of it is a just plain attitude of ‘when something happens, then we’ll deal with it’.
Things at the administration have to move from being reactive to being proactive, with preventive measures to ensure safety, she adds.
Drowning accidents are seeing a huge rise during the monsoons. While the citizens are aware of the accidents happening all over, they remain indifferent and risk their lives, says Hardik Loankar, Journalist.
The government needs to have standard protocols installed to avoid such mishaps of drowning. Permanent barriers need to be installed, students in schools and colleges should be taught basic swimming and also trained on rescue skills,
Before allowing people to run their boat clubs, the authorities should ensure that they have all safety equipment on the boats and are trained on safe recuse.
Lifeguards should be placed every 500 metres and a national water safety strategy should be raised to spread awareness of safety around water, Lonkar adds.
Jiya Kakad, Social Media Manager says,” Everybody is aware of the fatalities due to drowning, still people want that one selfie or video which has already risked many people’s life.”
One cant predict the intensity of the rain and the level and pressure of water. The local authorities need to ensure there are enough trained lifeguards at all the dams and lakes in proximity to the city.
So far I have not come across a single lifeguard, and even the sign-boards are faded and which need to repainted and placed every 200 metres. Awareness is very important, citizens should also know their responsibility and avoid getting into the water.
No one can protect them better than themselves, Kakkad adds.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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