The ward coordinator of Dum Dum has convened a meeting with local residents, police, officials from Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s drainage and sewerage department and the PWD to discuss the problem of open manholes in the area.
Ranjan Saha, 51, an autorickshaw driver, fell into an open manhole on a footpath adjoining the boundary wall of the Seven Tanks Estate on Dum Dum Road on Friday night and died.
“We are trying to work out a solution by involving all the stakeholders so that manhole covers in the area don’t get stolen or removed,” said Puspali Sinha, the local ward coordinator.
“A meeting with some local residents, police, PWD, borough chairman and officials of the KMC will be held in Tallah. We are trying to finalise the date.”
Ranjan Saha’s preliminary post-mortem report revealed sludge from the drain underneath had collected inside his nose, mouth and trachea. He had also injured his head.
The KMC and the state PWD have been accused of negligence. The authorities have tried to pass the blame on to local residents and said the department has replaced several manhole covers, most of which have been removed or broken in the past.
On Sunday, Firhad Hakim, chairperson of the board of administrators of the KMC, had said that a section of local residents removed the manhole covers so their children could relieve themselves and left some manholes open.
He said the civic body would build a few more washrooms in the area to avoid residents from opening manhole covers.
“We are in the process of identifying space for constructing a few more washrooms in the shanty in Ward 2. I have already spoken to Swapan Samaddar who is responsible for bustee development,” Sinha said.
“But along with this, we need to understand the exact nature of the problem and draw up a long-term solution by consulting residents.”
Three days after Saha’s death, Sinha visited the family in Dum Dum’s Indira Maidan area.