Lack of security at entry points, absence of CCTVs and proper floodlighting makes the Narmada canal not just a hotspot for suicides but also a crime hotspot. Close to 55- 60 bodies have been recovered from the Narmada canal stretch between Vaishnodevi and Koba on SG highway in 2021, giving it infamy as a risky road.

The stretch is also quite deserted, especially during evenings when the movement of people and vehicles reduces to a trickle. It is this lure where youngsters and married couples seek intimacy and also the thrill in the open that has made it vulnerable to accidents. The recent incident where a Nirma University student tripped on the slippery slopes of the canal while attempting to help a girl student who fell in it on Thursday, highlights the danger that it poses.

Kalol DySP V N Solanki said, Youth who go there attempt to get more daring and get closer to the water. They are unaware of how slippery the slopes are and once they fall in it is difficult for even good swimmers to come out. The strong currents and the algae make it difficult for even good swimmers to negotiate it.

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DN Vala, PI Adalaj Police Station, said that the slopes of the canal are extremely slippery and the flow of the Narmada waters that appear calm on the surface has a strong current and is deceptive. Layers of algae make it impossible to swim in the canal. The fire brigade and police call in expert swimmer teams from Dehgam to recover bodies from the canal.

According to D N Vala, a 2009 SSNNL circular forbids people and vehicles to enter inspection roads adjacent to the canal because these are only meant for maintenance, repairs and canal management. It is not a tourist place, Vala said.

Adalaj police said their teams and SHE teams patrol the ‘inspection roads’ to alert people of the danger.

Gandhinagar chief fire Officer Mahesh Mod said, initially, floodlights had been installed and special security deployed to ensure no one enters the Narmada canal or uses the roads. But the security has been lifted and the floodlights are no longer there. We have had several calls of people falling into the canal. According to police sources, there are no CCTV cameras on the canal stretch and so detecting crime becomes very difficult.

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