ttTraveling is fun and gives a lot of enjoyment, but one must be very cautious while doing so.

Once should avoid going to risky places and the teachers should ensure that the students do not undertake any activities that may cost them their lives like swimming or boating without any safety measure.

Any mishap can ruin the entire trip. So often we hear of the school or the college students meeting with some fatal accidents while having fun in their picnics in far away places. Take for the example the tragedy that took the life of 13 students aged between 18 and 20 on February 2 at Murud when they had gone out for picnic to the beautiful spot.

Ten of the students who died were girls, while three boys also died. A group of 120 students from Computer Science Department of the Abeda Inamdar College in Pune had gone for a picnic to Murud beach in Raigad district during their annual excursion.

During the picnic, some of the student decided to swim at the beach, but the tide pulled them into the sea. Local people and fishermen rushed to their help and managed to save lives of many students but unfortunately 13 of the young students died.

It came to light later that the beach is at the mouth of Rajapuri creek and during high tide, swirling water rises above quite a few feet with a great force.

The villagers of the locality and the fishermen there are aware of this and don’t venture near the beach during the high tide. The students did not know this and lost their lives as a result.

Learning lessons from the frequent mishaps during school and college excursions, the Maharashtra government has now banned taking school and college student to dangerous places in the name of picnics. The decision was taken in the aftermath of the Raigadh tragedy in which 14 students from the Pune college lost their lives.

The Maharashtra government has also banned picnics on beaches, hills, river banks etc. The government has also directed that for taking the students to such excursion tours, the schools will have to secure a permission from the government.

The teachers will be prosecuted if the students meet with some accidents on these picnics. The Maharashtra government has also directed the schools to allow the students to use mobile phones during such picnics. There must be one teacher for every 10 students while on any excursion.

In a similar tragedy 24 B.Tech students from Hyderabad died of drowning in the Beas river on June 10, 2014. The students were touring the Kullu valley and were on their way to Manali when disaster struck.

The students had stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sight and some of them had even entered the one foot deep water when water was suddenly released from a dam on the river Beas.

The gushing water swept away a group of 24 students. In a flash within just 30-40 seconds, all the students met their watery grave.
There were no boards, notices or warning signals of release of sudden water from the dam. Students were unaware of the impending danger at the sight.

Still it was a mistake to enter the river. The teachers present there should have prevented the students from doing so.

Many times people throw caution to winds while going for picnics. They will start swimming at unknown places or enter the jungle without precautions or drive at a high speed in the hilly regions or try to cross unmanned railway crossings without checking the sudden arrival of trains. And in many of such cases the mishaps take place costing precious lives.

There have been a number of accidents when the train hit the students lorry at unmanned crossings presenting a gruesome picture of strewn bodies of students littered all around.

You should be careful whether you are traveling alone, with friends or with fellow travelers. There are some basic precautions which should be maintained at all times to make the trip as safe as possible without reducing and fun and joy from the picnic. It is absolutely necessary to be cautious while traveling. All unnecessary risks should be avoided.

Remember to be alert while traveling. Pay full attention to your surroundings. You should also avoid traveling with jewelleries or lots of cash. These can be stolen from the buses or trains in which you are traveling. Don’t allow strangers to enter your train compartment at night.
While traveling in crowded local trains and buses beware of the pickpoketeers and thieves. Avoid picking fights during journeys.

In strange lands, you are less likely to get any help when in trouble. Avoid getting lifts from strangers in their cars. In trying to save some money, you may be risking your life.
Try to avoid roadside food while traveling. If you suddenly happen to fall sick you may l not find any proper medical help at an urgent notice.

So enjoy your journey as much as you want, but be careful and cautious while traveling. It pays to keep your eyes and ears open.

Rajendra Khatry Chandigarh