Punishment for irresponsible contractors should be harsh

24 April,2024 06:46 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  The Editorial

This should be firm, visible and prove an effective deterrent

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Mankhurd locals are mourning the loss of a six-year-old boy who drowned in a water-filled nine-foot-deep pit. The Vashi police have filed a FIR against the supervisor responsible for the pit's maintenance.

While the blame game is on, with the pit/pothole dug for infra, we need to go beyond who dug that pit, to the fact that allegedly there were no safety rails, guards, security personnel, or cordons around that pit stopping people/children from going close to it and then, slipping into it. Some months ago, there were reports about a child slipping into an open tank in a garden and drowning.

The most pertinent point is that any deep cavity on our roads, whether water filled or not, needs to have a warning sign, or cordon placed around it. This should be firm, visible and prove an effective deterrent.

Sometimes, the pits are left unguarded. At other times, in the case of small pits, there is some flimsy cloth covering which can be dangerously deceptive. At times, there is some warning but not visible, especially during night time. Flimsy wooden sticks that can be easily missed are placed at the site.

What we need is a more robust warning system for all such pits, or scooped out spaces during infra work. Authorities and contractors have to work together to come up with adequate warning systems. We cannot cite how this can be done, but it is evident this is very important. Factor in the upcoming monsoon season too, where visibility fades earlier and these depressions get filled with water. The danger level is certainly enhanced during the rainy season.

There must surely be a fool-proof way to ensure that all such digging necessary for infra does not cause such injuries and in this case, is the cause of such a humongous tragedy.

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