POKHARA: Fewa Lake in recent times has turned into a deathbed, as more and more number of people have been found dead after drowning in this one of the most popular lakes in the country.
Four days after British national Gimmy Budge went missing in the lake, his body was found yesterday.
Likewise, boatman Deepak Pariyar of Baidam drowned in the lake last week of July while kayaking. Ashish Ghimire and Ajay Bhattarai, who had embarked on boating on the lake on October 28 last year, also succumbed to the same fate.
Prior to this, Pramod Rijal of Kathmandu had drowned on September 6 last year. Ram Bhakta Paudel died on July 8 in the similar incident. The story does not end here. On September 26, 2004, six security men had drowned in the lake after returning from the security patrol while erstwhile king Gyanendra Shah was on Pokhara visit.
In 1961, 19 locals had succumbed to boat accident. In another incident of 1986, 18 people had died.
If Baidam-based Ward Police Office’s records are anything to go by, seven people had drowned in the lake during the first six months of the last year. The police records reveal most of the incidents were caused either in boat capsize or while swimming.
The repeated boat accidents in the lake have given negative message to the domestic and international tourists. Putting in effect various kinds of safety measures is a must to prevent the possible accidents in the lake, say tourism entrepreneurs, local administration and security officials.
Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai, a tourism entrepreneur, suggested that the condition and capacity of the boat must be checked. The mandatory provision of at least four life jackets and two tubes in each boat would mitigate the accidents to a greater extent, he said, adding that the mechanism to inform about the weather disturbance must be arranged and the motorboats and trained rescuers should be managed.
Nepal Tourism Board has provided the jalaris (boat operators) with 150 life jackets which is insufficient for around 700 boats currently operating in the lake. Kaski CDO Shambhu Koirala said the administration has started working on reducing the accidents in Fewa Lake.