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12-yr-old boy dies, 4 others hurt after school gate collapses on them in Navi Mumbai

The boys were playing cricket inside the school compound at Bonkode, Kopar Khairane, and were pushing the heavy gate shut when it fell on them

mumbai Updated: May 26, 2018 12:31 IST
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Hindustan Times
Navi Mumbai,School gate falls on boys,12-year-old dies
The school gate fell on the boys as they were pushing it shut on Friday morning.(Bachchan Kumar)

A 12-year-old boy playing cricket with his cousins and friends on Friday morning died after the gate of a newly constructed civic school in Kopar Khairane, Navi Mumbai, collapsed on them.

Saurabh Sunil Chaudhary’s 14-year-old friend is still in hospital with a fractured leg,while three of Chaudhary’s cousins who suffered minor injuries have been discharged.

Angry relatives have demanded action against the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the civic contractor who built the school. They have also alleged that the private hospital Chaudhary was taken to delayed admitting the child.

Chaudhary had just passed his Class 4 exams. Around 8.45 am on Friday, Chaudhary was playing cricket with Nilesh Rajendra Devre, 14, Krunal Chaudhary, 15, Ritik Chaudhary, 14, and Yogesh Chaudhary, 18 at the school compound in Bonkode. “Children regularly play there as the other ground nearby is always crowded,” said Santosh Patil, 27, the victim's cousin. “The children were playing cricket when an auto-rickshaw came in. The driver had opened the gate to enter, and the boys decided to close it to stop their cricket ball from going on to the road.”

Patil said the gate fell on them as they were pushing it shut. Ritik, one of the boys who were injured, said the gate was heavy. “It would take three or four adults to pick it up. Somehow, we managed to lift it and pull ourselves out.”

The two injured boys, Chaudhary and Devre were taken to a local hospital first, which asked them to go to the NMMC hospital in Vashi as the injuries were severe. “At the NMMC hospital, we were told his condition was serious and that he should be shifted to a private hospital nearby, with which the civic hospital has a tie-up,” Patil said.

The boy’s family alleged that the hospital demanded Rs 85,000 before allowing them to admit the boy in the ICU. “We told them we were sent by the civic hospital, but they asked for documents. We insisted that they should start treating Chaudhary, but the whole process delayed treatment and he died half an hour after being taken to the hospital,” Patil said.

The private hospital has refuted the allegations, and in a statement, said the boy was “pulseless” when he was brought in.

The Kopar Khairane police have registered a case of accidental death. “We have also registered a case of negligence against the contractor,” said Sunil Gawli, police subinspector at the Kopar Khairane police station.

The school building was constructed at a cost of Rs 30 crore, and has been ready for quite some time now but has not been in use. The NMMC is planning to start a CBSE board school here from the coming academic year.

The NMMC commissioner, Ramaswamy N, said the delay in opening the school caused the accident. He has ordered a departmental inquiry. Ramaswamy said, “Had the school been functioning, such an incident would not have taken place.” He added that the civic body was also looking at whether there was negligence by the contractor. He however denied claims that there was no guard at the school. “Following reports of liquor bottles being found in the campus a few days back, I had posted a guard at the school. In fact, he was the one who took the child to the hospital.”

Chaudhary’s father, 42, is a tailor, and his mother, 38, is a homemaker. He has an older brother, aged 14.

First Published: May 25, 2018 16:00 IST