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12 May 2018

Rafting suspended in Teesta after Muzaffarpur man dies

Deep Gazmer | TNN |  May 11, 2018 | DARJEELING: The Kalimpong district administration has temporarily suspended rafting activities on the Teesta river, following the death of a tourist near 7th Mile.
On Wednesday, Roshan Singh (38) of Muzaffarpur, Bihar, along with his wife and four tourists from Delhi fell into the Teesta when their raft capsized in the rapids near Kirney. The guide Kasim Hussain managed to pull everyone back to the raft. But Singh's life jacket disengaged when his wife tried to pull him on board. Singh later died on the way to a Siliguri hospital.
The district administration on Thursday met various rafting associations active near Teesta in Kalimpong. After the meeting, Kalimpong district magistrate Dr Vishwanath said, "We discussed safety and security measures with the various rafting associations. We shall verify if they are trained and licensed. We have asked them to submit their documents. Rafting activities have been suspended for at least a week. It will take some time to scrutinize the documents. We will also have to circulate our findings and strictures to all concerned, which may take a week. So till then rafting operations will remain suspended."
"Teesta has swelled due to rains in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Also there is a slope between the 7th and 6th Mile which may have caused strong rapids leading to the accident," DK Subba, a local resident, said.
There are no official records of the numbers but at least fifty rafts are used in the Teesta. The rafting activities start at 7th Mile and end at Labarbote near the Bengal-Sikkim border, covering around 4-5km. Operators refused to comment on Wednesday's incident. But a source said at times there have been lapses. "Sometimes, the rafters are careless and don't adhere to safety measures. I have even seen rafters without life jackets," he said.

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