Meghalaya: Three children drown in unfenced fish pond

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TURA | Nov 1, 2019:

In a tragic incident, three school children (all cousins), with the eldest being merely 6 years of age, drowned in a fish pond at Miapara village near Manikganj under Mendipathar PS in North Garo Hills district of Meghalaya on Tuesday, Oct 29 at about 3 pm.

According to police sources, Ranbir Juro (6) Dipen Rabha (5) and Rishabh Rabha (3.5 years) were returning from school when they decided to cool down near a pond in the village. Unfortunately there was no one around when the trio went near the pond.

"We are not really sure of what happened as there were no witnesses. The pond was unfenced and unattended due to which they were able to access it easily which ultimately cost them their lives," said a police source from NGH.

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Ranbir was a Class I student of St. Thomas School in Mendipather and was returning home with his cousins, Dipen and Rishabh, studying in Nursery and Lower Kindergarden classes at Manikganj Memorial School, respectively.

Villagers returning from work spotted the bodies of the three children afloat on the water and alerted police.

Garo Hills region has seen a spurt in the number of private ponds due to encouragement from MGNGRES under the pisciculture scheme to augment fish production in the region. NGH has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme due to the topography of the area allowing for fish ponds to be easily created.

The growing numbers have also posed a risk for children with many cases being reported of accidental drowning of small children.

A similar case took place in May this year in Babupara where a 6-year-old and his sister drowned after stepping into a fishing pond.

Similar cases have also been reported from other districts.

In view of the growing risks posed by unattended ponds, the district police chief, Dr Sacheng Marak has advised villagers to create fencing to deter children from venturing near ponds.