Barely a few hundred yards from Raj Niwas and the residences of three Delhi cabinet ministers, a senior Delhi bureaucrat suffered multiple injuries and fractured his leg after falling into an open manhole.
Appalled by the condition of what is considered one of Delhi’s safest and best-maintained areas, the IAS officer has written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Satyendar Jain.
V C Pandey, Secretary, Arts and Culture, was out on a morning walk on Wednesday when he fell into the manhole. “I had missed out on exercise over the last few days, as I had a lot of work, so I decided to go for a walk. Instead, I fell into this manhole. I fractured my right leg and suffered severe injuries on my left leg and hand,” Pandey told The Indian Express.
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The senior bureaucrat blamed his injuries on the negligence of the PWD and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and has written to the CM and the cabinet minister concerned. “There seems to be a negligent attitude towards the general public,” said Pandey.
He emphasised the extent of “negligence” by elaborating that it had occurred in Civil Lines. “This happened just a few hundred yards away from Raj Niwas, close to where three cabinet ministers reside. Another 15 metres ahead, you will find at least three other open manholes. If this is the state of affairs near the residence of the first citizen of the city and cabinet ministers, we know what the rest of Delhi faces,” said Pandey.
Now at home and in a cast, he said that Delhi was unsafe for walking.
“We want to make the capital a city where people can take a walk. Neither do we have proper footpaths for those who want to walk nor are there proper street-lights. The least the authorities could do is to cover the manholes to prevent any untoward incident. Had this been the rainy season, I would have died,”he said.
In his complaint to the PWD minister, Pandey has attached details of the incident.
“I bring to your kind notice that I met with an accident at Rajpura Road near LG house and house of ministers due to negligence of the PWD or NDMC authorities who neither covered the manhole nor marked the uncovered manhole, which was not visible due to absence of proper street light up to 17, Rajpura Road,” stated Pandey in his letter.
He also asked who should be held responsible for the accident. “The accident could have larger implications had I fallen completely in the manhole. I request you to kindly order an inquiry into incident and fix the responsibility as this has happened on Rajniwas Road, which is considered safest,” wrote the official.
Despite repeated attempts, PWD Minister Satyendar Jain could not be reached for comment.