Child rescued from drain - 3-yr-old falls into opening outside mall

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By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 17.08.08

Guwahati, Aug. 17: A three-year-old child fell into an open drain in front of the city’s Swankiest mall-multiplex this afternoon, reviving memories of two similar incidents in which the victims had perished.

Prompt action by a couple of bystanders, however, saw Priyansh Bhansali being pulled out through another opening of the drain, about 100 metres away from the spot where he fell, around 4.30pm.

He had been inside the drain for around 10-15 minutes.

The boy was first rushed to GNRC Hospitals in Dispur in a critical condition. He was then shifted to the paediatrics ICU of its Six Mile unit.

The hospital authorities said his condition was stable and he was under observation.

“Water has been pumped out. Further examinations are on to see whether his vital parts have been infectedas the drain water was very polluted. His condition is stable and he is showing signs of improvement but we cannot declare him to be out of danger. A team of experts is attending to him,” said GNRC spokesperson Manoj Deka.

The boy had been out with his mother Priya Bhansali and other relatives for an evening show at Cinemax, the multiplex at the mall, Dona Planet, when he fell into the open drain.

The family hails from Chatribari in the city.

Smart showers just before the incident had flooded most parts of the road and the drain along the entrance to the multiplex, making it difficult for those entering and leaving the complex.

Incidentally, Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Prateek Hajela was among those who struggled to leave the multiplex after the matinee show this afternoon.

Aman Gupta, who pulled the boy out of the drain, Ranjit Sharma, a cook in a nearby eatery, Mohammad Jainuddin and Manoj Agarwalla, the head of the GNRC’s emergency department, took Priyansh to hospital.

Agarwalla was on his way back from Jagiroad but got down in front of the multiplex and helped take the unconscious boy to the hospital in an autorickshaw.

The autorickshaw broke down midway, forcing Gupta and Agarwalla to take a lift in a private car.

The boy’s mother held the government responsible for the mishap, which she said only exposed Dispur’s tall claims of development.

Another agitated relative, Manak Jain, said, “There are thousands of sites in the busy city, which have been left uncovered after cleaning. The government cannot stop claiming that the city is shining. Even now, in front of the GNRC Six Mile office, drains big enough to swallow a Maruti car have been left open. If this is Guwahati shining, then god save the city,” Jain said.

GMC commissioner Manish Thakur, who took over only last month, said he would look into the matter to ascertain if the incident was caused by negligence on the part of his department.

He also said the mall authorities should also have taken some precautions to prevent such untoward incidents.

An hour after the incident, however, a few people were seen barricading the site.

Upamoni Choudhury, a housewife, had slipped into an uncovered drain and died in 2003. Jhumur Karmakar, a child development project officer of the social welfare department, had met the same fate in 2006.

Each time, the government promised action to prevent similar incidents but nothing has materialised so far.

On July 11, The Telegraph had reported how the gaping holes on the pavements along GS Road, which have been lying exposed after the government agencies removed the covers to clean up the drains, have turned into virtual deathtraps.