Nine-year-old drowns in manhole


Hyderabad : Heavy rains and official apathy have claimed the life of a nine-year-old boy who drowned in an open manhole here, just a day after another child was washed away in an open drain.

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Shakir died Thursday night while he was trying to catch his footwear that was swept away in rainwater in Musheerabad neighbourhood where he was attending a function with his parents.

"He had gone out to play with other children but he never returned," said his inconsolable mother Jameela.

This was the second incident in as many days. On Wednesday, 10-year-old Poonam was washed away in the Afzalnagar drain in Habeebnagar while her eight-year-old sister was rescued. The drain had been overflowing and the two sisters standing nearby were caught in its swirling waters.

Residents alleged that both the incidents in the heart of the city were caused by the apathy and negligence of the civic authorities who did not take up repair and maintenance of the drains before the monsoon.

People in Habeebnagar said the construction of a slab over the open drain was not completed though it was launched several months ago.

The municipal authorities appear not to have learnt any lessons from previous incidents, which have claimed five lives in the last two years.

Despite claims of massive infrastructure development and putting forward the image of an IT hub to the world at large, Hyderabad's civic infrastructure collapses with just one heavy rain.

And this is just the beginning of rains in the state.

The low-pressure area in Bay of Bengal cross Andhra coast near Kakinada early Thursday triggered heavy rains in the region. The Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre has forecast heavy to very heavy rains at few places in the coastal district. Rains are also likely in Telangana and Rayalseema regions and parts of Tamil Nadu.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea. Authorities have set up control rooms in Kakinada and other coastal towns to monitor the situation and take up evacuation from low-lying areas in any eventuality.