Mumbai: Ex under-19 World Cup cricketer's home's ceiling has fallen 7 times in 3 years

Nov 01, 2017, 17:40 IST | Suraj Ojha

Now a railway employee, Nikhil Rathod's several complaints to authorities have gone unheard

In 2004, he was on the field and running between wickets for his team in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Now, as a Traveling Ticket Inspector with Central Railway, he has been running between departments to get authorities to take notice of the dilapidated condition of his railway quarter in Sion. The ceiling has fallen on Nikhil Rathod and his family seven times in the last three years, and yet, his numerous complaints to higher-ups have gone ignored.

Nikhil Rathod at his home in Sion railway quarters. Pics/Shadab Khan
Nikhil Rathod at his home in Sion railway quarters. Pics/Shadab Khan

A right-handed batsman and leg-break bowler, Rathod stays with his wife and two children in Sion's Agarwada Colony. According to him, since moving into the flat in August 2014, chunks of the ceiling have collapsed seven times all over the house and balcony. Eight months back, a huge part had fallen on his wife's head, when she was pregnant with their son, leading to serious injuries. They didn't file a police complaint as they were assured of proper maintenance work.

As per a railway engineer's report, Nikhil Rathod's
As per a railway engineer's report, Nikhil Rathod's

On indifferent ears
Talking to mid-day, Rathod said, "On October 29 again, a huge piece fell right next to where my seven-month-old boy was sleeping. He could've died... I informed authorities and told them that the quarter was in no condition to get repaired and was dangerous for further occupancy."

Quarter in Sion's Agarwada Colony is 'not liveable'
Quarter in Sion's Agarwada Colony is 'not liveable'

"I constantly fear for my family, my four-year-old daughter and baby boy," he added. So far, Rathod has sent complaints to the Sion police, and the general manager and divisional railway manager (DRM) of CR. A police officer said, "We have got his complaint and are looking into the matter."

Rathod alleged, "I went to meet senior DPO Vinita Verma (she has authority of house allotment) on October 30, after the collapse the previous day, but she was in a meeting with the DRM. After waiting for 90 minutes, she called me in her cabin. I told her the problem and requested her to read my letter, but she said she didn't have time and even said 'Who told you to stay there? Leave if you don't want to...'"

Verma, however, said, "I just asked him to apply through the proper chain. There are several people in the waiting list, staying in quarters declared unsafe. We need to shift them out first. I told him to shift out if he felt unsafe. We are taking his problem seriously and looking into the matter."

Dangerous, indeed!
Rathod met CR's deputy general manager, who said that as per the description, it sounded as if Rathod was indeed staying in a dangerous place. "We will look into the matter. What the senior DPO said to you was not the right way to talk," he reportedly said to him.

According to a report by the senior section engineer (works), Dadar: "The condition of the quarter is bad with portions of ceiling falling in one bedroom and heavy leakage during the monsoon. This quarter is not liveable; hence, the occupants should be shifted urgently."

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