Monday, 30th October 2017

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College Square swim class bar

Calcutta Municipal Corporation to order infrastructure audit after 17-year-old boy drowned on Sunday

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 6.08.19, 1:55 AM
  • Updated 6.08.19, 1:55 AM
  • a min read
The College Square pool (circled) where Mohammad Shahbaz got drowned on Sunday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

The swimming club in whose pool a 17-year-old boy drowned on Sunday has been barred from giving swimming lessons to beginners till September, when the season comes to an end, a mayoral council member of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation said on Monday.

All six clubs at College Square have been told to suspend swimming at least till August 12, said Debashis Kumar, the mayoral council member in charge of parks and gardens.

The CMC will engage the Life Saving Society of India to carry out an infrastructure audit of all swimming clubs at College Square.

Mohammad Shahbaz, who had joined the Calcutta University Institute swimming club a month ago, died after he apparently jumped into a deep pool, instead of a shallower one meant for beginners.

Officials of the club, which is not linked to Calcutta University, said the teenager was supposed to stay in an enclosed section where novices are trained.

“We have asked Calcutta University Institute to stop their training classes for beginners till the end of this swimming season, which is September,” mayoral council member Kumar said after meeting representatives of six swimming clubs of College Square.

“We will engage the Life Saving Society of India to conduct an infrastructure audit of the clubs. The audit will check whether the clubs had implemented the safety measures that we had recommended in 2017,” he said.

The drowning of a 67-year-old swimming instructor at College Square in 2017 had prompted the civic body to come up with the recommendations.

Shahbaz’s death has raised questions about the safety precautions taken by swimming clubs. His elder brother has expressed doubt whether the trainers were vigilant enough.

An official of Calcutta University Institute had said on Sunday their lone lifeguard was on leave and there was no one to cover for him.

A CMC official said the clubs had also been asked to separate the portions where beginners are trained from the rest of the water body and fill those sections with clean water so that the bottom was visible from above the pool.

The College Square water body is now filled with water from the Hooghly. The water is muddy and the bottom is not visible.

“The CMC wants us to fill the sections where beginners are trained with clean water,” said Biplab Ghosh, the general secretary of Bowbazar Byayam Samity.

Police said they had not received any complaint from Shahbaz’s family till late on Monday.