Monday, September 28, 2009

The Hindu : Front Page : Toddler washed away in drain

The Hindu : Front Page : Toddler washed away in drain
Toddler washed away in drain

Staff Reporter

Overnight rain leads to another casualty; search operations resume today

DEATH TRAP: Fire and Emergency Services personnel searching for the body of Vijay in Hulimavu Police Station limits in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Bangalore: With the death of six-year-old Abhishek in a Lingarajapuram drain on May 31 still fresh in memory, the city has witnessed a similar dreadful accident; this time that of 18-month-old V. Vijay Kumar who was swept away in the rushing waters in an open drain on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said the toddler slipped into an open tertiary drain at Chikkadevarahalli, about 35 km from here, around 7.40 a.m.

All efforts to trace the child, including a joint combing operation by personnel from the Fire and Emergency Services, the police and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), have failed. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has announced compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the family.

The three-foot-deep tertiary drain, which is two feet wide, is about 20 metres from young Vijay’s house. The drain was overflowing after Tuesday night’s heavy downpour and had loosened the soil.

The boy’s parents, Varadaraju and Lakshmamma, both construction workers, were in their house adjacent to Visvesvaraya Marg of Royal Residency Layout near Chikkadevarahalli while the child was playing with his uncle Kanakaraju (10). The latter said Vijay fell when he went near the drain to pluck some grass.

Niranjan, a waterman with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) who was doing some maintenance work on the pump house of the nearby water tank, witnessed the incident and tried in vain to save the toddler with help from his colleague Rajanna.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-east division) B.N.S. Reddy, more than 200 personnel, including those from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Bangalore City Police and the BBMP, were roped in for the combing operations.

Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy and senior BBMP officials, including Special Commissioner Maheshwar Rao and Zonal Deputy Commissioners and Joint Commissioners, visited the spot.

BBMP sources said the so far the personnel had trawled a 2-km stretch of the drain. The search was called off at 6.30 p.m. Sources said it would resume at 7.30 a.m. on Thursday, and go all along the drain up to the Madiwala lake. We will look for the body in the lake as well, the sources said.

Residents of the area said that the drain’s embankment had indeed been fortified to prevent such incidents. However, they alleged, construction workers had stolen the cement bricks and stones from the embankment.

Mr. Varadaraju’s relatives told The Hindu that the couple, who hail from Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, and had been working in the city for the past four years, had named their first son Ajay. “The doctors told Ms. Lakshmamma that the second baby could be stillborn. So, when he was born, they named him Vijay, as he overcame all odds and was born healthy.”
No ambulance

When she heard the news, Ms. Lakshmamma collapsed. There was no ambulance available and neighbours gave first aid with glucose and water.

Later, when she fainted, BBMP officials summoned an ambulance, which shifted her to a nearby hospital.

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