A four-year-old nursery student drowned in an open drain in Sector 16 area of Vasundhara in Ghaziabad on Thursday afternoon.
The boy’s family has alleged that their child died due to the negligence of the school authorities. The child had joined a local school, which sources said is unauthorised, a couple of days ago.
The incident came to light when Sunny, the toddler, went missing and his sister, who studies in Class I of the same school — Holy Mother Public School — informed the school authorities about her missing brother. The school then informed the parents and started looking for the boy.
"Around 2.30pm, Sunny's body was noticed by some people in an open drain just a few feet away from the school complex. The body was fished out and he was declared dead at a private hospital," said Sanjay Gaekwad, the uncle of the victim.
The school is run from two small rooms. There were no signboards indicating that a school was being run from the premises. Indirapuram station officer GN Yadav told Hindustan Times that the school management was on run and efforts were on to nab them. Police have registered a case.
HT managed to speak to one Parvez, who claimed to be the school's principal. He said, "We declared an early holiday today due to the rain. The child somehow managed to sneak away from the school. When his sister returned and told us, we informed their parents. There was no fault on our side."
Local civic body officials said the drain is around 3 feet deep and one of the five slabs covering it in front of the school was missing.
Municipal commissioner Jitendra Singh, when contacted, gave a shocking reply. "We recommend that drains should be left open so that we can clean them easily. This practice is followed at least in Ghaziabad. Residents have been covering the drains with slabs and this makes cleaning them difficult," the commissioner said.
In a similar incident in Indirapuram on May 6, a senior official of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) fell and died inside an open Ganga-water pipeline pit in Green Valley area.