328 Mumbaikars died after falling into manholes in last 5 years: Right To Information

Mumbai: A total of 328 Mumbaikars have lost their lives after slipping into an open manhole or drowning into the sea, in the last five years. The numbers of those sustained injuries in such incidents are half than that of the dead persons. The numbers show the sorry state of affairs of the city’s civic authorities. This comes in the form of a response by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to an application filed under the Right To Information (RTI) act, 2005. The RTI query was filed by activist Shakeel Ahmed Shaikh. According to the official data, a total of 328 persons have died, of which 237 are men and 91 women. It further reveals that at least 167 persons have sustained injuries after falling into a manhole or a drain or drowning into the sea.

Among the injured, 122 are men and 45 are women, the official data released by the BMC, states. This totals the number of incidents pertaining to citizens drowning into the sea or slipping into the manholes, to 639. As per the data, the year 2017 witnessed the highest number of deaths with at least 78 persons losing their lives in such incidents. The same year also recorded the highest number of such incidents with the BMC receiving a total of 154 complaints. The data assumes significance as it directly pins holes in the tall claims of the BMC, which claimed that it has covered the majority of its manholes or drainages to ensure no citizen slips into it. This was after the tragic death of Dr Deepak Amarapurkar, who died after fell into an open manhole during the August 2017 floods. Interestingly, it was only after Dr Amarapurkar’s death that the BMC had on oath told the Bombay High Court that it has put up metal grills under 80 per cent of its manholes.

However, despite these claims, the data reveals that at least 42 deaths were recorded till July 2018. It further shows that a total of 21 persons sustained injuries in the same time period. “This is a total failure on part of the BMC and thus I believe that the police must register a case against the local officers and also the commissioner of the civic body for every such death,” said Shakeel Shaikh. While referring to the incident of Thursday, wherein a boy fell into a gutter, Shaikh said, “The BMC must grant monetary compensation to the victim and his family. It cannot scot-free like this and must register a case against its officials and commissioner.”

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