Thick bundles of open wires, open meter boxes, dangerously narrow lanes and metal staircases attached to every other house are scattered throughout chawls such as Vimla Chawl, where two boys died Monday after being electrocuted.
The two deceased — Tushar Jha (11) and Rushabh Tiwari (10) — died of electrocution after allegedly touching a metal staircase attached to a house in the chawl. The incident occurred even as many in the city rejoiced upon receiving a pre-monsoon shower.
The homes of both deceased boys were silent on Tuesday — the bereaved mothers sat on the floor of their homes, not uttering a word as mourners gathered. While Tushar had two siblings, aged 8 and 5, Rushabh had an elder and younger sister.
The chawl, too, was reeling from the incident. Jha’s father works as a cleaner and Tiwari’s father is a railway employee. According to eyewitness accounts, Rushabh and Tushar were running with two other friends in one of the chawl’s narrow, flooded lanes. They slipped and reached out to grab the metal staircase for support.
“The staircase was carrying current. I saw a man try to save them, but on experiencing the current, he gave up. We tried calling the fire department, the police…” said Shivani Mishra (18).
Local residents helped take the bodies to the nearby Sai Care Hospital, where they were declared brought dead. “The houses are mostly occupied by tenants. Owners have found flats in areas of Virar or Nallasopara. They know of open wiring but blame tenants for not paying for repairs. All politicians here are active but public should be active too. I have cut all electricity connections now and will ensure they are covered. The problem is the illegal metal ladders throughout…” said BJP mahila morcha zilla vice-secretary Asha Shukla, a resident of the chawl.