Kendrapara, Jan 4 (LocalWire) The district administration on Friday decided to recommend names of two girls, who saved many people from drowning in the Kendrapara boat mishap, for National Bravery Awards.
Odisha Women and Child Development Minister Prafulla Samal on Friday felicitated both cousin sisters – Sabita Giri (14) and Purnima Giri(15), along with Budhadev Giri (40), Abhiram Das (70), and Balaram Das (32) for their heroic rescue operations during the tragedy.
Each rescuer was given Rs. 10,000 as reward in presence of Kendrapara collector Dasarathi Satapathy, Mahakalapada MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and others at their village Nipania.
Budhadev Giri’s daughter Sabita and Uttam Giri’s daughter Purnima risked their lives and saved around 15 people, including five children, from drowning in Nipania river.
Both the girls were in their house near the river when they heard shrieks of the victims and immediately jumped into the crocodile-infested river to rescue as many people they could.
“The names of both the girls will be recommended to the government for the State and National Bravery Awards for their exemplary courage,” said Satapathy.
Sabita said: “The boat turned turtle in the river as a result ten people drowned. It was not possible for us to drag them from beneath the boat and hence we could not save their lives.”
“There was nobody around when the incident took place. We did not know what to do when we heard the cries for help. We just jumped into the river to save them,” she said.
Meanwhile plethora of accolades poured in favour of both the brave girls .
“The exemplary courage of both the girls and their presence of mind saved the lives of many people from the jaws of the death,” said Samal.
Both the girls are class IX students at Ganyamayee High School.
“We will soon felicitate them for their courageous work,” said District Education Officer (DEO) Kalpana Behera.
“Some people gathered near the river bank but could not gather courage to jump into the cold water to save them. But both the girls, myself, Abhiram, and Balaram plunged into the crocodile-infested river,” said villager Budhhadev.
“We will always remember the heroic deed of two girls who saved our lives. We are all grateful to them,” said Basant Swain, one of the survivors.
“The bravery Sabita, Purnima and other villagers would be an example for others to take risk to save the lives of others,” said Prakash Tarei, another survivor.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Wednesday’s boat tragedy rose to ten on Friday after the body of six-year-old Minu Swain, daughter of Akshya Swain, was recovered by the rescue team.
On Wednesday, one body and on Thursday eight bodies were recovered.