19 women among 22 drown in nine Bihar districts Patna: At least 22 people, including 19 women, died due to drowning in Bihar’s nine districts in the last 24 hours, said the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) on Sunday. The majority of the casualties took place on Saturday evening when women went to various ghats to have holy bath on the festival of 'Jitiya', a local festival wherein mothers keeps fast for her children's well-being. According to the government statement, five teenage girls died in Bahiyara village under Chandi police station in Bhojpur district, four women in Jehanabad, three in Patna, three in Rohtas, two in Darbhanga, two in Nawada, and one each in Kaimur, Madhepura, and Aurangabad. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed condolences to the family members of the deceased. He has also announced a relief of Rs 4 lakh each to the family members of the deceased. "In every festival, people go to the river banks in Bihar for the holy bath without realizing the depth of the river. Due to digging of sand at several places, the surface is uneven at the majority of the places. Suppose, you are taking a bath in four-ft water level and when you move a step forward the depth of the surface may be more than 10-ft due to digging of sand. This has often led to the mishaps in Bihar,” said Sunil Kumar Singh, an NDRF commandant. "The sand mafias have done rampant digging at several places in the river making the surface uneven. As a result, when water comes in those areas after the monsoon session, people do not know the actual depth of the river,” Singh added. “Awareness is the key here to avoid a mishap in Bihar. Unfortunately, the people ignore our suggestions and jump into the river without realizing the depth. Many people make reels and selfies while jumping in the rivers from higher places and often become victims of mishap. This needs to stop and people need to be aware. They should understand the ground reality,” Singh said.