Man's search for missing son in Guwahati drains yields no result on 3rd day, CM consoles parents

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Guwahati, Jul 6 (PTI) A desperate man’s search for his eight-year-old son in drains of hilly Jyotinagar area of Guwahati for the third day yielded no result till Saturday evening.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who visited the site urged the parents of the missing boy to return home for the night for the sake of their younger son.

Hiralal Sarkar has been looking for his son Abhinash in the open stormwater drain of the area ever since the boy slipped from his father’s scooter and fell into it on Thursday evening, not even returning home at night.

The state machinery has also launched a search operation since the incident, with various machines and sniffer dogs.

Hiralal, sleeping under a mosquito net on the veranda of a shop, insisted that he "couldn’t go home leaving his son there".

Sarma, who visited the search site at Bamunimaidam area downstream of the drain, consoled the missing boy's parents.

“You can come back tomorrow morning again. The search teams will continue their work through the night. Please, both of you go home tonight, for the sake of your younger child. You cannot lose your strength. Go home tonight, and pray to God. Some things have to be left on the Almighty,” he told them.

The chief minister also requested the grandparents of the boy to convince and take home Hiralal and his wife.

Hiralal, who had changed his saffron colour T-shirt and black half pants into a fresh set of clothes for the first time since the night of the incident, narrated before the CM how he had initially grabbed the hand of his son before Abhinash was swept away.

“I don’t want to go from here,” the father pleaded, leading Sarma to urge him again to spend the night at home.

Talking to reporters at the site, Sarma said, “The police and other agencies will continue the search operation. But if the parents continue staying like this, they will collapse. We should all ensure that they return home and prepare them to face the harsh truth. If something were to happen to the parents now, we would not be able to forgive ourselves.” Sarma said that if Abhinash had been stuck in the drain, some trace of him would have been detected by now by the authorities, adding that the boy’s sandals were retrieved by the father.

“The body could have been swept away further downstream. And even if we are to assume he is alive, it is difficult to estimate how his condition will be,” Sarma said.

He said the search operations will continue till the NDRF and SDRF deem it necessary, pointing out that the drain has been searched seven times by the agencies and twice by Hiralal himself.

“I have asked them that upstream areas also be searched. And there be another search till Bharalu river sluice gate, into which the drain flows,” he added.

Sarma said he will visit Abhinash’s residence on Monday and while no monetary compensation can bring back the boy, he will try to ensure the younger son of the couple is well taken care of.

On allegation of government negligence leading to the incident and late response from rescue agencies, the CM maintained that there are bound to be some problems in a big city like Guwahati, but the administration was ready to rectify them wherever pointed out.

He also maintained that the rescue agencies have been carrying out thorough work.

Public awareness on safety measures like not riding during heavy rain has to be greater to ensure that such incidents do not recur, the CM added.

On water logging in the city since Thursday evening, Sarma said only some low-lying areas continued to remain inundated till Saturday.

“We are working to make Guwahati flood free. When flooding problem of one area is solved, new areas get flooded due to various reasons. We are working on it,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, as Hiralal found the second pair of the sandals his son was wearing, the desperate father urged the authorities to gear up their operations.

“I have been searching with an iron rod and have managed to find my son's sandals. I possibly cannot find him with the rod. The government has the machinery, they must find my boy,” he said.

He handed the sandals over to the police for verification.

"Search operations continued till late on Friday night and resumed in the morning. We have used sniffer dogs, excavators and super suckers at different locations,” an official said.

The official added that the various points towards which the drain water could have possibly flown have been mapped and a search is on.

The parts of the drain which are covered with concrete slabs in the downstream areas are being lifted and a search was conducted for the missing boy, he said. PTI SSG SBN SSG NN