mid-day visited the school to find it surrounded by dense forest and filled with rat holes
The Marol Police Camp BMC School is in a dilapidated condition
Government apathy once again led to an incident that landed a four-year-old student of a Marol-based BMC-run school in hospital on Monday. Four-year-old Vaibhav Sathe, who was playing on the premises while waiting for his elder sister's classes to get over, was allegedly bitten by a snake. After his father reached the spot, he immediately rushed him to the Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri, where he is currently undergoing treatment. However, his condition is reported to be critical.
When mid-day visited the Marol Police Camp BMC School, it found that the institute is being run under extremely poor conditions. Located inside a police camp, the premise is surrounded by a dense forested area. Even the windows and doors of the classrooms are broken and there are rat holes everywhere. According to sources, victim Vaibhav Sathe and his elder sister Harshali Sathe study in the same school. While Vaibhav's classes in the kindergarten department finishes around 4 pm, he waits for Harshali to get over with school. Their father reaches around 6 pm to pick them up. Hence, after 4 pm Vaibhav either plays on the premises or sits in Harshali's classroom.
On the day of the incident, after playing outside the classroom for a while, Vaibhav went up to his sister and said that he was not feeling well. After resting for a while, he fell asleep and soon Harshali realised that her brother had high fever. Speaking to mid-day, Vaibhav's grandfather Kisan Sathe said, "When Harshali's teacher saw him sleeping in the class, she should have realised that something was wrong. Thankfully that day their father reached school around 5.15 pm to pick them up." He also said that some of the kids, who were playing outside, told Vaibhav's father that something poisonous bit him.
"Vaibhav was immediately taken to Holy Spirit hospital. It's still not clear whether he was bitten by a snake or something else," said Dinesh Habale, a relative. Vaibhav's aunt Ranjana Dabhade said, "The school's watchman sits exactly opposite to the area where the children play. It's strange how nobody noticed the incident."
Passing the buck
When contacted, the school principal Karande refused to comment on the matter and said that she was not in-charge of the kindergarten section. Aasha Wagekar from Stri Shakti Mahila Mandal, which runs kindergarten sections for BMC schools in the area, said, "In this case, ideally the school's primary section, where Harshali studies, should take responsibility. Our department had got over at 4 pm. However, as soon as we got to know about the incident, we visited the boy and his parents at the hospital. We are even following up with his treatment."
When asked what steps are being taken in the matter, Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer, said, "We have asked the deputy education officer of the area to submit a report on the incident as well as the condition of the child."