Many years ago, along with some friends, I had gone to enjoy a day on the downstream, of a famous dam in UP. We were all young and bachelors. We had usual stock of eatables and soft drinks and a few beer bottles.
We were in the shallow waters by 10.30 am and found a few rocks, not very high and settled around them. We removed our shoes and put our feet in the slow flowing waters. After some time we also had a dip in the water a slight distance away where the depth was waist high. In between wewere munching snacks and drinking and in general making merry. Far away there were small groups also enjoying a sunny day in the winter month of December.
Soon it was time to have lunch. We sat on the rocks and had a very enjoyable luncheon, which we remember always. Naturally the lunch went on for a long time. After that we felt like taking a nap, as the heavy food and warm sun also encouraged it. Soon we were all lying on the rocks in all sort of reclining poses trying to take a brief siesta. It was not a deep sleep but yes some of us did have it for some time.
After an hour or so all of us sat up and started gossiping and felt like having a cup of tea. It was nearing 5.00 pm and light was also fading away. One of us was opening the flask of tea,when the top cap fell from his hand. To our surprise we saw it flow away at a good speed. We also realized that the water level had gone up and indeed water was flowing at a higher velocity than when we came in and even when we were having our lunch.
Soon we were enjoying our tea but when we looked around we found all had left and we were the only ones having a good time. Soon we noticed that water level had reached the surface of the rocks we were sitting on and we could now see a small river flowing. It soon occurred to us that water was being released from the dam and it was time we should get out as fast as we can. We started gathering our items and could observe the water level rising fast.
Soon we started walking towards the bank, but found
After what seemed an eternity, all wet and fagged out we reached the bank and fell on the ground. We thanked our stars for making it safely. As we got up to walk away, we saw a huge flush of water in form of a wave about 4-5 feet high coming towards the spot we were sitting and walking a few minutes ago. We ran away with full speed and reached the road that led to the dam about 3-400 feet away.
When we reached near to it we were met by a dam official who shouted at us saying that they were trying to catch our attention as they had to release water suddenly from the dam. It was when they saw us reach the bank that they released the water full blast. When we asked if we had not left the rocks, he said anything could have happened.
We were saved and thanked God. But today the news has come in that 24 young students from Telengana have been swept away by the suddenly released waters of a dam in Himachal Pradesh. My thoughts went many years back to a similar incident in which I was involved but was saved. The poor young boys have lost their lives.
In these days of mobile, could not there be a rule that every one who is enjoying downstream of a dam gives their number to the dam authorities, who can alert them in time. Further can't sirens be placed at every say 100 meters up to a specified distance to be sounded in times of release of water. These are not difficult but do we value life, that is the key question.
May their souls rest in peace and condolences to their bereaved families.