A 12-year-old boy died reportedly after he slipped into a water-filled pit on the Coastal Road construction site near Madraswadi slum in Worli, just three days after an 18-month-old child fell into an open drain in Goregaon East.
Family members of the boy have accused the BMC of negligence and said there was no safety measures, like barricading or security guard, near the pit, located close to the slum, when the incident occurred.
The BMC is constructing Rs 12,000-crore eight-lane Coastal Road from Princess Street to Worli end of Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
According to locals, around 5 pm on Friday, the boy, Bablu Paswan, along with two of his friends had gone to a toilet, about 100 metres from the pit, and slipped into it on his way back.
The pit was dug by a BMC-appointed contractor, Bablu’s neighbour Shatrudhan Paswan told The Indian Express. He alleged that there was no security around the pit when the boys went there. “It was not even barricaded and the area around it was slippery and muddy. Since there was no barricading, the pit was not visible to the boys properly. After Bablu fell into it, some local boys tried to save him, but failed.” After the body was pulled out, Bablu was taken to Poddar hospital and subsequently Sion hospital, where he was declared dead.
Calling it a clear case of negligence by the civic body and the contractor, Shatrudhan said, “Soon after the incident, they (civic body) immediately put up barricades and signage in the area around pit. Even they have put up a floodlight and a warning board. If this was done earlier, then we would not have lost a the child.”
Bablu, who hails from Samastipur in Bihar, had come to Mumbai around eight months ago to live with his parents. His father Rampunit Paswan, a taxi driver, and mother Sarita Devi live in a small 10×10 shanty in the slum, located at the edge of the Arabian Sea. “We have lost our child due to the negligence of BMC. He had come Mumbai few months ago,” Rampunit told The Indian Express.
Local Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Shinde and NCP’s Mumbai chief Sachin Ahir, who visited the family on Saturday, have demanded action against BMC and the contractor responsible for digging the pit.
“Before the work started in the area, I met BMC officials and the contractor and clearly instructed them that the civic body should ensure that safety arrangements were in place near the construction site. But, in this case, there was no security guard or barricading near the site. These people are living here since the last 50 years. So, considering this, the civic body should have taken proper safety measures. I have met police officials and demanded that an FIR be filed against civic officials and contractors. I will follow up this issue and make sure that action is taken against them,” Shinde said.
The MLA added that a 70-year-old man was hired as security guard to man the huge area before the incident. “Only after the incident, they (BMC) have deployed four guards.”
Meanwhile, officials from the Worli police station said an accidental death report has been filed in the case and further investigation was on.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner, (Coastal Road in-charge) R S Kuknor, said, “I will have to check about the incident, since I don’t have much details. But as per my knowledge, proper safety measures are in place at a our sites.”