A 13-year-old girl from Madanrting tragically lost her life after being electrocuted while washing clothes in a local stream last month.
The incident occurred on October 25, a day that had been declared a school holiday on account of bad weather that was forecast. The victim died two days later.
However, the day turned out to be a fine one and the girl, a student of HL Mizo Secondary School in Happy Valley, accompanied a neighbour to the stream to wash the clothes of her 3-year-old sister. Madanrting currently faces acute water shortages and families often have to resort to paying for private water tankers to supply them. This explains why residents still have to wash their clothes in rivers.
Speaking to Highland Post today, the victim’s aunt, Evanghlyne Syiem, said, “Seeing that the weather was okay, the child’s parents allowed her to go to the stream, as she had done many times before, but they never imagined that she would be electrocuted.”
Syiem added that the location is close to a transformer and that several people who were also washing clothes in the water at the time felt a current and raised the alarm.
“One woman started shouting to everyone to get out of the stream but the current got stronger and held the child in the stream and she was electrocuted,” Syiem explained. “Many tried to rescue the child but the current got stronger and was felt everywhere until a daring 20-year-old boy somehow managed to pull her out of the stream.”
She was taken unconscious but still alive to a nearby house where people tried to revive her but they were unsuccessful even though they were able to save another child who was also electrocuted at the same time.
Syiem’s niece was rushed to Supercare Hospital but died two days later, with the parents left to bear a Rs 70,000 hospital bill plus the additional cost of medicines.
The girl’s body was then taken for an autopsy by police. A police official said an inquiry has been constituted by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) and only after it is complete will the whole truth into the incident be known.
Bindo Lanong MDC, who has taken a strong interest in the constituency, has visited the home of the deceased and described the case as an example of negligence on the part of the power utility.
“We all know that water is the best conductor of electricity, so how come a stream used by people frequently has that kind of electricity leakage?” he questioned, adding that this is not the first case of such an incident.
“I believe that if the affected party wants it, MeECL should pay heavy compensation to them even though they will never be able to compensate for the loss of life.”