A 14-year-old migrant boy who was assigned the task of entering the city's sewerage without any safety equipment had a close brush with death on Wednesday when an iron rod pierced his ribs.
The incident occurred at about 2pm on the Gurukul road when Kundan, 14, went inside the sewerage. With no official rescue team available at the spot, volunteers of NGO Sahara shifted the child to the Civil Hospital, where Dr Usha and Dr Dhiraj Goyal saved his life after an hour-long surgery. Had the doctors referred him to a bigger hospital, he might have died on way.
In May, four labourers deployed without safety gear, oxygen supply and other safety backup had died while working on the underground project. On May 22, two labourers had fallen into a septic tank on removing the old-screen chamber at the municipal corporation sewerage project site near the city's television tower. On May 26, another two workmen died of inhaling toxic gases from the gutter they had opened to clean, failing the eight-hour rescue operation of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The administration had kept mum even then, and still on Wednesday, sent a child into the gutter without the contractors giving him any tool for safety.
Kundan, who was injured, said he had been on the site for the past eight days. "I come from Balpur in Bihar," he said at the hospital. "I got injured during work on the sewerage project." Municipal councilor Uma Shankar said he had no knowledge of any such incident. When reached again after being given some time, he said there was nothing to check up on. "Write that we will inquire into the matter and take action against the guilty."
To register a case, the police ought to have information. "We have none," confirmed UC Chawla, station house officer of Canal Colony. "No one told us about the incident." Dr Usha, who operated upon the child, contradicted the officer's statement. "Some time after 2pm, the boy reached our hospital," she said, "and well before 3pm, our doctors in the emergency had informed the police.