Mumbai: Parents raise a stink about drainage water overflowing outside school

Parents complained that manholes outside this Powai school had not been securely closed, and were spewing filthy water through which the students were forced to wade every time they entered or exited the school

Walking through puddles and waterlogged areas is considered to be part and parcel of the Mumbai monsoon experience, but is proving to be quite a dampener for schoolchildren in Powai, who are forced to walk through filth gushing out from open manholes right outside their school gate.

School children are forced to walk in filthy water gushing out from the manholes, exposing them to water-borne diseases, their parents complained. Pics/Sameer Markande
School children are forced to walk in filthy water gushing out from the manholes, exposing them to water-borne diseases, their parents complained. Pics/Sameer Markande

Just outside the main gate of Hiranandani Foundation School lie manholes with displaced lids, spewing rotting waste, faeces and even dead rats that the students and their parents have to dodge every time they enter and exit from the gate. The problem, say parents, is that children end up walking through the muck every day before they attend school.

“We are worried that our children will fall sick soon if they sit in school all day after walking through drainage water. It is nauseating to walk our children to school, and even though the water doesn’t enter the school ground, our children have to walk through the drainage water to enter,” said one of the parents.

mid-day visited the spot yesterday, just as school had ended, and found parents as well as children trying to avoid the filthy water. “This problem is even worse when it rains heavily because there’s also a lot of waterlogging that takes place here, and the drainage water, along with rain water, enters the school premises as well,” said another parent.

Many parents were angry that the same problem had occurred last year as well, and even though BMC workers had stopped the drainage water from flowing on the road, the same problem has repeated this year, with the manhole lids not being screwed on tightly enough. Last year, a group of parents had complained to school trustees as well as the BMC ward office.

“Some of the parents had written to the BMC ward office and people were sent to replace the cover on manholes and the problem was solved. But once again this year, the same covers are off, so there is a need for a permanent solution,” added another parent.

Taking matters into their own hands, some of the parents took help of the school watchman and tried placing large rocks and bricks on the manhole lids to keep them from coming off, but that has been of little help.

“There are so many water-borne diseases that our children are currently susceptible to because of this problem. Most parents choose to drop their children off to school these days, so that they don’t have to walk through the water,” said a student’s parent.

24-hour assurance
mid-day tried to contact school principal Kalyani Pathak, but found no response to either messages or calls. However, Vipinkumar Pandey, the chief engineer of the BMC’s Sewage operations told mid-day that the problem would be attended to within 24 hours. “We will check with the ward office as well, to see if any complaints were made and not responded to. The problem will be solved soon,” said Pandey.

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