Death in Nagalapuram – CTC’s name at stake

Here is a news clip from Times of India Chennai.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/IIT-student-drowned-while-trekking-in-Nagalapuram/articleshow/17300457.cms

Taking a backup of the news. And this is one of the reasons I stopped trekking with CTC long back.

CHENNAI: Four months ago, it was Prabhu Shankar. The 25-year-old drowned in a pond while fleeing wild bees in the Nagari forest of Andhra Pradesh on a trek. Now, it’s 26-year-old S Jais Tom, a research scholar at IIT, Madras who drowned in the Nagalapuram check dam in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh while trekking on Saturday.

The police who retrieved out the body on Sunday with the help of locals, said they have registered a case. “We have flushed out the body after a long search. There were no wounds on the body. A case has been registered under Section 174 (unnatural death) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC),” said S Hanif, a senior constable at the Nagallapuram police station.

There were 15 members in the trek organized by the Chennai Trekking Club (CTC). The members were selected through its website with a tag “Let us run to Nagala East on Nov 17th.” Tom’s father Thomichan K Joseph said he had never expected that his only son would face an end like this.

“On Friday, my son informed me that he would be leaving for Nagalapuram with some friends. The trek was organized by the CTC. My son was very fond of trekking. He knew swimming. He must have drowned because of the undercurrents in the dam,” said Joseph, a farmer who lives in Iritty in Kannur district of Kerala.

Tom, into the third semester of the Ph.D (Physics) course, was a cheerful person, according to his friends at IIT Madras. “I have never seen him tense. He was very cheerful. It’s a big loss for us,” said Raman Namboothiri, another research scholar at IIT Madras.

Trekking is good, but there are strict rules to be followed while organizing treks to the wild. There are complaints that trekking clubs flout safety rules and trek to many forest areas without permission.

“Whenever a death occurs, the members of the trekking club will be there to help the victims’ families. If they had showed the same interest in the safety aspect, it could have saved the lives of people like Prabhu Shankar and Jais Tom,” said a former member of the CTC, who didn’t want to be quoted.

“In the Nagalapuram trek, the team had taken a difficult route, not the usual one. If you take such routes, you should be extra cautious,” he said.

Peter Van Geit, the Belgium-based founder of CTC, didn’t answer queries from ToI. Constable Hanif, however, said of late people from Tamil Nadu who trek in the Nagalapuram forest do so without the mandatory permission from the forest department which eventually leads to many fatalities.

“I have seen at least 20 youth dying during my three-year period here. It’s sad,” he added.

 

Bala Zen (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

1 day ago

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hope only practiced experienced trekkers enter to forest with permission instead everyone goes inside

Ponnuraj (Chennai)1 day ago
Saju has once again deliberately abused “TOI” platform to abuse and publish false statements and to take revenge against the defamatory criminal legal proceedings initiated against him by CTC. He has to learn basics and he should be sent to his school were he studied journalism before he publishes his next article in any newspaper. Let’s see the factual errors and how this report is motivated and shuns the ‘press ethics’. Firstly, he reports “The police who retrieved out the body on Sunday with the help of locals”. A layman who would have followed this incident would have reported that the body was retrieved by Indian Coast guards and not by police with the help of locals. Secondly, he quotes a former member of CTC saying, “In the Nagalapuram trek, the team had taken a difficult route, not the usual one. If you take such routes, you should be extra cautious”. They did not start their trek this incident happened even before the trail starts on the entrance where this Dam is located. This again reflects on his very poor mastery over facts and quoting some random person without daring to name him. Thirdly, he quotes Constable Hanif as “I have seen at least 20 youth dying during my three-year period here. It’s sad,” While Saju is motivated to write about 2 deaths occurred during CTC treks, why has he not reported about the 18 other incidents brings to light his intentions.

Leo (Chennai)1 day ago
Saju has once again deliberately abused “TOI” platform to abuse and publish false statements and to take revenge against the defamatory criminal legal proceedings initiated against him by CTC. He has to learn basics and he should be sent to his school were he studied journalism before he publishes his next article in any newspaper. Let’s see the factual errors and how this report is motivated and shuns the ‘press ethics’. Firstly, he reports “The police who retrieved out the body on Sunday with the help of locals”. A layman who would have followed this incident would have reported that the body was retrieved by Indian Coast guards and not by police with the help of locals. Secondly, he quotes a former member of CTC saying, “In the Nagalapuram trek, the team had taken a difficult route, not the usual one. If you take such routes, you should be extra cautious”. They did not start their trek this incident happened even before the trail starts on the entrance where this Dam is located. This again reflects on his very poor mastery over facts and quoting some random person without daring to name him. Thirdly, he quotes Constable Hanif as “I have seen at least 20 youth dying during my three-year period here. It’s sad,” While Saju is motivated to write about 2 deaths occurred during CTC treks, why has he not reported about the 18 other incidents brings to light his intentions.

Creep (Chennai)1 day ago
some thing wrong here a fresher trek taking a difficult route and allowing him to swim in a reservoir? Each organizers should be professional to guide these young people….if there is no professionals around then dont organize trips. IIT student of a poor family…all the dreams shatters because of CTC organizers…

Balaji Seshan (Chennai)1 day ago
CTC is now building its castle on dead bodies; this is the fourth death that has occurred and the interval of occurrence has drastically narrowed from 1 year to 4 months just in its 4 years of its presence. This can easily be attributed to the immature organizer’s who are conducting treks. This trek which took the life of an IIT student was organized under the name of “Let us Run to Nagala” organized by an unskilled organizer who had brought in 10 of his colleagues apart from the 15 other trekkers to this trek. More than underscoring his incapability to handle such a huge crowd he showed the way for others to dive inside the Dam. He wanted to prove in front of the fresher’s that he can swim and cross the Dam, poor Tom under estimating his capabilities dived inside and others watched him drowning and where was the organizer? He was watching the whole episode safe from the banks. The organizer and the club should be charged for being ‘reckless’ and ‘negligent’. Let this be a lesson for all those who want to enjoy adventure at the cost of human lives. Readers, take print outs of all these newspaper reports and send them to CM cell, IG of Police, Chief of Forest Department, and Human Rights Organizations to teach them lessons. I am writing this after dispatching these news articles.

TruthSeeker (Nagala east)1 day ago
Why are the organizers experimenting with the trekkers life by not following the regular trail. In this case, why did they swim in the dam when there was a clear trail around the dam? Is it because of the over confidence of the organizer? They should better disband this trekking club before many lives are lost because of careless organizing.

trek (cfadfd)1 day ago
is this story true? CTC organized this ..?

Ravi S Ghosh (Banglore)1 day ago
Bala, I could see in your FB update that you were trekking that day in Nagalapuram West. And I could see from your FB photo’s you went to Venketeswar reserve forest( For which DFO dont give for trekking) previous weekend with your friends. Would you please put the permission letter photo in FB? Others will really get inspired by it. Regards, Ravi

bala (chennai) replies to Ravi S Ghosh

1 day ago

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so when i requested from forest to yu guys to support venkatesh maran . did you went to Nagala Ravi

bala (chennai) replies to Ravi S Ghosh

1 day ago

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and next time dont ask government official letters thro online forum and good that if you give your mobile number to verify id

Ravi S Ghosh (Banglore) replies to bala1 day ago
1st of all I did not think there was any need for a non swimmer like me to travel all the way from Banglore to Chennai when a wise guy like you were available near around. 2ndly wats wrong putting the photo of trek permission when you do put so many photo of the trek? Believe me , it will inspire rookie organizers a lot. And why don’t you publish a detail document on how to trek safely instead of blaming others here.That may reduce incident like these in future. BTW did they permit you to put fire inside jungle in your trek permission?

bala (chennai)

1 day ago

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The organizer was updated his facebook that he was succeeded 2.1km swimming as a iron man competion, thats why he put the difficult task (impossibile task)of completing trek to picnic pool by starting at 8 am and finishing back to base at 6pm. this itself shows his immeturity and how peter says about it as fresher trek. he himself not saved during Prabhushankar accident which happend infront of him also Peter also sting by honey bee but manipulated the group as he was not in the sean and nobel mohan was booked FIR as bike accident. even after the accident when guys called from spot Peter got info and after that refused to answer the call and sent few CTC organizers to spot and when the issue became big in media thro’ others then slowly they involved to recover body otherwise like last time he refused to take the Prabhushanker from Knee deep pool in Nagari for two days until police and guys from chennai to come.

Balaji Seshan (Chennai) replies to bala1 day ago
Bala, why do you have to cry here i strongly suggest you to follow these steps if you really care for young Indian’s lives. 1. Collect all the paper cuttings reporting the deaths in CTC treks. 2. Make a letter on telling the 4 deaths, permission not obtained, illegal entries, safety compromised. 3. Send your letter and print outs of all these newspaper reports to CM cell, IG of Police, Chief of Forest Department and Human Rights Organizations. Only these authorities will save our brothers.

bala replies to Balaji Seshan

1 day ago

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ya sure Balaji. I m going to do that now.lets see how he is going to keep quite and his fellow organizers

bala (chennai)

1 day ago

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send Peter to learn about trekking and value of indian young guys life…

bala (chennai)

1 day ago

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very well you pls. go and ask venkateshwara forest office and kodur Police – call me I will give you phone numbers of officialls Is this real ravi ghosh.. and i have details of how many illegal treks happend after permission denied by forest office who and all went

bala (chennai)

1 day ago

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appreciate your question to me but it will be more appreciated if you ask Peter why he lost his fellow trekkers.. i m shouting here for four days to support victim of Nagala and no one presented who and all claim that they all importent ctc organizers.

Rajanna (Chennai) replies to bala1 day ago
If you have so much detail, Why are you not doing anything? Why are you just shouting here?

bala (chennai)

1 day ago

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i have my record clear always and thats why sending invite with proper name as venkateshwara . if that was illegal trek then why should i mention name and post pics after that. try to solve ctc problem.

Srinidhii (Venketeswara) replies to bala1 day ago
Bala, How many experience trekkers did you have in your Venketeswara group? What is the safety parameter do you follow?Is your group govt approved group? Who takes the responsibility in case there is an accident?

Shridhar (Bangalore)1 day ago
@Ponnuraj and @Leo – it speaks very poorly of us when we try to argue about who did what in the face of a young life lost, possibly due to negligence. Instead of trying to introspect why this has happened more than once and at such a short interval after last time, does it convey a healthy attitude if we try to discredit and abuse the reporter. Maybe the report incorrectly mentioned who retrieved the body, but does it really matter?

Truthseeker (treasure hunt pool nagala)1 day ago
It is not an impossible task to complete nagala east trek in a day but why did they plunged into the dam has to be explored. Is it because the organizer who just a week back got accustomed to the so called ‘iron man’ competition, encouraged everyone to dive in to the dam? Even for a good swimmer swimming 200-300 mts on a single stretch will not possible without proper preparation. Is that how the life is lost because it looks like Tom is good swimmer. Why did the organizer not the know the basic fact that swimming in various pools in nagala is different from swimming in the dam. Organiser has to be one responsible here.

Balaji Seshan (Chennai) replies to Truthseeker20 hrs ago
You are correct in pinning the responsibility on the Organiser. Fellow participants who watched him drowning say that he struggled for 5 minutes before he drowned sending out helping calls. He was just 30 mts away from the bank and its possible for any average swimmer sitting on the bank to wear a life jacket and reach to him before he went down. But all the participants were freshers. The questions which need to be asked are, how many experienced trekkers from CTC were there to guide this 25 member gang? Fact says except the unskilled organiser everyone was a fresher. When you organise and conduct treks the organiser owes the duty to safeguard the participants if he fails it is recklessness and negligence. Which costed a poor student’s life.

Balaji Seshan (Chennai) replies to Balaji Seshan18 hrs ago
The worst part is the same Organiser has now become an expert trekker and has given a detailed interview.

Deepak (Pune)18 hrs ago
Who was the Organizer ? Was Peter part of this trek ?

balanced view (Nagala)18 hrs ago
Bala Zen, Why ur so obsessed/frustrated with peter. I agree there are many short comings with CTC/peter with respect to responsibility & safety measures. But still don’t try to settle personal scores here. responsibilities lies on the participants too. we can’t entirely blame the organizers. I heard certain things about the fuss between u & ctc founder.i.e., he stealing ur GF. Not sure how far its true. If its true then my piece of advice to you is Life is larger than a girl so keep move on. Think ve and thank the founder for getting to the know the true color of that girl If its false then my apologies

Balaji Seshan (Chennai) replies to balanced view17 hrs ago
But as a person who has closely monitored and critiqued him for the past 4 years let me try to enlighten you from my experience. Sitting on 4 young boy’s dead bodies and 8 parents pain of loosing their only son – he is a hero still playing with the life of poor Indian youth discarding the emotions of their parents. He created loads of scene when he killed Prabhu at Nagari in his trek and informed publicly that he will form a team and visit his parents. But quite sad the Hero did not care to visit the parents of Prabhu who died in his trek. The one-month calling off treks was a drama in the eyes of public since he went for a trek into a reserved forest without permission the period meant for mourning. Yes, he is a HERO in the minds of young guys.

Balaji Seshan (Chennai) replies to Balaji Seshan16 hrs ago
Probing into his personal affair a little to understand his feelings about Indian women, his present affair with Sinu is publicly second, leave alone his countless private affairs and this happened after tasting and chasing away Kamala Kumari and his two daughter. Sinu was snatched during a CTC trek from her boy friend. What is going to be the fate of Sinu? God alone knows. Yes, he is a HERO tasting Indian gals.

dumbbalas (Chennai) replies to Balaji Seshan8 hrs ago
Lol sounds to me as if u r jealous.. Y do u always try to abuse these accidents for ur personal vendettas. Only idiots as dumb as you 2 will believe what u say. Seriously u r a blemish to the outdoors community in India. Get a life grow some and show some respect for the dead.

dumb balas (Chennai) replies to Balaji Seshan8 hrs ago
Lol sounds to me as if u r jealous.. Y do u always try to abuse these accidents for ur personal vendettas. Only idiots as dumb as you 2 will believe what u say. Seriously u r a blemish to the outdoors community in India. Get a life grow some and shome some respect for the dead.

Romesh Oinam (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

14 hrs ago

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Member
Trekking is risky as it only involves exploration into the wild and in the wild anything can happen, its not like some training or something where there are so many safety measures and all. So if you think there arent any safety measures in trekking then dont go for trekking and act so adventurous, better stay home. Please dont expect god to jump out and help you in the wild….

truthSeeker (v6 pool ) replies to Romesh Oinam14 hrs ago
Everyone knows about the risks involved in trekking. But when life is lost because of careless organizing, like jumping into the dam when there is a clear trail around, then something has to be done. When someone drowns in the dam because there is nobody to stop him/ warn him/ save him, you think it is right to believe that it happened in wild ?

4 thoughts on “Death in Nagalapuram – CTC’s name at stake

Add yours

  1. I don’t understand the purpose of this discussion. If anyone means well then they should know facts…. unfortunately the TOI reporter, has to go back to school to learn reporting. There are so many errors in the report even a school student would have done a better job of reporting.

    People are making noise without any constructive recommendations. We are seeing sparks flying to only settle personal scores. People shamelessly try to make personal gains out of somebody’s death. People without any integrity should not even talk about crusading for the brotherhood of us Indians. We hear a lot of accusations instead of some way to make things better. Just tall claims and false accusations. If anyone think they can make a difference please do something.

    God forbid. that i should be the next person to die on a trek. I have had my close shaves and that’s not going to stop me from trekking. If only the Government can make some changes to their archaic rules and regulations we won’t have to go through such tragedies.We all know, a lot happens on a trek and we are personally responsible for our actions and the decisions we make.
    To make a start… can somebody suggest where we can be trained to trek or be trained to be a life guard. We need trained people and to implement as many safety measures as possible. Lets do some constructive discussion please

  2. I am a relative of Jais Tom, who is the unfortunate victim of this incident. I would support (financially and physically) any initiatives by the forum members to file a petition or case against CTC for irresponsible behaviour in organising trekking. What is the cost of a life jacket? Is it much costlier than a human life?? (may be true in India where 1.2billion people leave in ‘peace’). I have witnessed the safety awareness in countries like UAE, Singapore and Malaysia where the authorities as well as the organisers will always enforce the use of Life jackets even for good swimmers if it is a public dam, river or sea cruise.

    1. It need not be blamed on CTC per se, rather it should also be a discretion of the one who is about to jump into the reservoir as well.

      I’ld ask where did his wisdom go?!

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