Toddler falls into drain, disappears within seconds; locals say BMC ignored complaints
Footage from the CCTV at a shop in the vicinity, which went viral, shows the child walking towards the drain and disappearing within seconds. Not finding Divyansh home, his mother started to look for him, but found his slipper near the nullah in Goregaon (East).Updated: Jul 12, 2019 08:12 IST
A one-and-a-half-year-old boy, Divyansh Suraj Dhansi, fell into an overflowing open drain near Ambedkar Chowk in Goregaon (East) at 9.45pm on Wednesday. The rescue operations were on even more than 24 hours after the incident.
At the time of going to press on Thursday, the boy hadn’t been found.
According to police, Divyansh, who lived in a slum near the 2-ft-deep drain, stepped out to play after eating dinner, when his mother went to wash her hands.
Footage from the CCTV at a shop in the vicinity, which went viral, shows the child walking towards the drain and disappearing within seconds. Not finding Divyansh home, his mother started to look for him, but found his slipper near the nullah.
The family then started to look for the boy in the drain and the bigger nullah, known as Piramal nullah, it connects to. Soon, the fire brigade was informed, which reached the spot around 10:30pm.
The fire brigade, police and 70 BMC employees began the search and rescue operation. By Thursday evening, 45 members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), too, joined the operation.
The Piramal nullah ends into Marve Creek, 8-9km from the spot. PS Rahangdale, chief fire officer, said both the ends of the nullah till the creek were being searched. Officials said the strong current may have swept the boy away into the creek or he must have been stuck somewhere down the nullah.
Sandeep Singh, the boy’s uncle, said, “My mother, my brother, his wife, his three kids and my two sisters live in the same house. Divyansh has an elder sister and brother. We began search immediately, but we still have no clue where he is.”
Chanda Jadhav, assistant municipal commissioner of P South ward, said, “The drains were closed, but the locals probably opened it. We can’t say anything for sure. We will first prepare an initial report.”
Vijay Singhal, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We will decide on initiating an inquiry after getting a detailed report from the ward.”
Local councillor Swapnil Tembulkar from Shiv Sena said, “It is the administration’s fault and we must definitely inquire into it. It seems the contractor who cleaned the drain opened it, but did not shut it.”
However, locals said they have been complaining to the BMC about the open drains. “On July 1, when it rained heavily, the drain started to overflow. We had complained that the drain was open. Even four days ago, we approached the authorities, but they didn’t respond to our complaint.”
In the afternoon, the locals resorted to raasta roko, blocking the highway for a few minutes, but soon dispersed after the police detained some of them.
Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar also visited the site and promised a high-level inquiry in the case.