Child's fall into drain reopens Palike's wounds

Child's fall into drain reopens Palike's wounds

BBMP to look into charges

Lakshmi, mother of 18-month-old boy, who drowned in storm water drain near Hulimavu, being consoled by relatives in Bangalore. DH photo

While the recent drowning of six-year-old Abhishek triggered huge political repercussions in the “self-seeking” transfer of the then BBMP commissioner, Dr Subramanya, the drowning of Viji has opened an old wound in the Palike’s body.

Retaining walls play an important role in trying to direct the flow of water along any Storm Water Drain (SWD). Locals claim that the real fault of Viji’s drowning lay in the fact that a Palike engineer had demolished a portion of the retaining wall after assuring the residents that a fresh one would be built in its place. But as time passed by, the engineer was transferred and the wall never came up.

Tragically, Viji slipped at the same spot where the wall was torn down. Responding to queries on the issue, the newly appointed Special Commissioner, Mahaeshwara Rao said the re-modelling and building of proper SWDs has been on the BBMP agenda for quite some time now. “We have been building pucca SWDs all over town, but some areas might have been left out. I will have to look into the allegations of the retaining wall being demolished by our officials,” he said.

Local MLA, Satish Reddy, who rushed to the spot as soon as he heard about the incident said, that the one-foot wall would have made no difference in saving the child. “It was an unfortunate accident. Yes, it is true that the wall is broken, but the kid might have climbed it and still drowned,” he said. Reddy rued the fact that the incident could have been averted had the parents been careful, and it happened in his constituency.

All officials, elected representatives and BBMP authorities, alike, were of the view that closing the SWDs would do more harm than save lives. “You can judge it by seeing that the closed SWDs along the entire area, barring the incident spot, has no space along the top. Had it been open, the boy might have been saved,” he added.

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