19-year-old man drowns in Greater Noida village pond, locals blame authority
Family members of the deceased and villagers blamed the Greater Noida authority for the death as the authority had recently cleaned the pond,
A 19-year-old man drowned after he allegedly slipped into a pond in Kheri Bhanauta village around 5pm on Thursday, following which a team of Greater Noida police and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) carried out a search operation and fished out his body on Friday around 9am, police said.
The deceased has been identified as Prashant Singh who lived with his family in Khedi village. Family members said Singh had gone to play Kabaddi with his friends. Later, he and his friend Shivam went to take bath in the village pond and Singh slipped and fell in.
“Villagers informed the police about the incident around 6pm Thursday following which police teams rushed to the spot. While Singh slipped and drowned, Shivam was able to get out and raise the alarm. Late Thursday night, divers from the SDRF were deployed to look for the man. Around 9am Friday, Singh’s body was fished out of the pond and handed over to the family,” said Awadhesh Pratap, in-charge of Surajpur police station.
Family members of the deceased and villagers blamed the Greater Noida authority for the death as the authority had recently cleaned the pond, thereby increasing the depth of the waterbody by several metres.
According to the public information board erected near the pond by the Greater Noida authority, the pond cleaning work began on March 10 and was scheduled to be completed by May 25.
“The work not only started late, but was also abandoned during monsoon rain in the month of June. Since then, a large amount of pond muck, cleared from the bed of the water body, has been left on the sides of the pond, making the periphery extremely slippery and dangerous. The pond is about 20 feet deep, and yet, there were no safety arrangements such as fencing around the pond,” said Mahavir, Singh’s uncle.
In March this year, the Greater Noida authority launched a drive to beautify ponds in all 124 villages under it ahead of the monsoon. On May 30, the authority imposed a penalty of ₹5.5 lakh on the contractor for violating rules while desilting and beautifying two ponds in Kheri village, one of which was the pond where Singh died.
Vikrant Tongad, environmentalist and a resident of the village, said, “The cleaning work of the pond should have been completed before the onset of monsoon and the muck around the water body should have been removed. However, as the work started late, the contractor had to leave the job unfinished when monsoon hit, which made the area dangerous for villagers and animals.”
Greater Noida authority additional CEO Amandeep Duli said, “This incident has nothing to do with the cleaning work as we a had not yet begun the desilting of the pond. Only dewatering work had started and then the rains came and work was halted. The incident is unfortunate but we are not to blame.”
Police said no complaint has been received from the family as yet.