13-year-old drowns in construction pit

Jun 26, 2012, 07:05 IST | Veda Ramaswamy and Saurabh Katkurwar

Deceased failed to come up after jumping into a 30-feet water filled pit in the middle of a Navi Mumbai construction site, builders blamed for violating rules

Just a day after the tragic death of Mahi from Haryana, whose lifeless body was pulled out of a borewell on Sunday, a boy from Sanpada died under similar circumstances. Abhishek Bharadwaj (13) yesterday drowned in a 30-feet hole that was dug within a construction site opposite Sanpada railway station.

Dead: Lifeguards pulled out the body of Abhishek Bharadwaj who was drowned in a 30-ft hole that was dug within a construction site opposite Sanpada railway station

According to police officers from Turbhe police station, at around 1.30pm on Monday, Abhishek had visited the spot with two of his school friends to take a swim. He took a plunge into the water from a nearby wall, unaware of the depth. The hole was situated within the 22-25 meter long and 15-20 meter wide construction site.

When he failed to come up, Abhishek’s friends informed their school authorities immediately, who in turn alerted the NMMC fire brigade. The rescue operation continued for four hours, but his lifeless body was pulled out by Bholenath Chavan, a lifeguard at the NBC Club who happened to pass by.

“I was on my way to work when I noticed a huge crowd at the construction site. On knowing what had happened, I started searching for the boy myself. After a 30 minute search, I found his body, but he wasn’t breathing. I handed over the body to the firemen and left,” said Chavan. The NMMC officials took the body to a nearby municipal hospital, where he was declared dead.

When asked whether the construction site lacked vigilance, JN Sinnarkar, deputy municipal commissioner of NMMC, said, “As per rules, we are not bound to hire life guards. However, if a case of drowning happens, we call professional lifeguards. The land belongs to two developers, and it was their duty to have at least provided some security personnel at the site. It is not our responsibility to allot lifeguards at a private land,” said Sinnarkar. The NMMC have now filed a FIR against the two developers at the Turbhe police station.

The builder who dug the hole, apparently did not obtain permission from the NMMC to start construction on the land. Sagar Naik, mayor of Navi Mumbai, who visited the spot, declared that the builder will be reprimanded if he has violated the rules. “I have come to know that the builder, who has dug up the holes, has not taken any permission from the corporation. We do not know who has started the construction here, so we will take strong action against the builder after investigation of the matter,” said Naik.

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