DEHRADUN : Being penalised by traffic cops would have upset Mohd Faizan on any given day. However, he only had gratitude towards the cop who intercepted him on Wednesday. Faizan’s bike was seized by a cop due to incomplete documents, which prevented him from reaching the Namami Gange project sewage treatment plant (STP) at Pipalkoti on the banks of Alaknanda Wednesday morning, saving him from the electrocution tragedy.
Faizan, a local, was on his way to the site following the electrocution of a worker there but couldn’t make it. Soon after news of the mass electrocution came, he thanked his lucky stars.
Faizan’s case is not the only one. Shortly after the tragedy, a few other ‘lucky escape’ stories also came out. Kuldeep Rawat, inspector at Pipalkoti police station, who would have gone to the STP site since the area was under his jurisdiction, had to leave for Nainital for a high court hearing. His junior colleague, sub-inspector Pradeep Rawat, went to the site in his place, and succumbed to the mass electrocution.
Executive engineer of Jal Sansthan, Sanjay Shrivastava and Hardev Arya were also supposed to be at the STP but they learnt about the visit of secretary of Jal Sansthan andwent to Jilasu at Karnaprayag instead, to prepare for the visit. Their junior colleague, Sandeep Kumar who went to the site in their place, got badly burnt and is now battling for life at AIIMS-Rishikesh.
While they are all grateful to have escaped, they are yet to come to terms with the scale of the tragedy. “We fall short of words for what has happened. It is a trauma that we would never be able to overcome. We might have escaped but we lost people we knew,” said a distraught Shrivastava.

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