NH blocked as boy falls in open manhole, dies

NH blocked

The busy National Highway-1 was blocked near the Jalandhar bypass for over three hours on Sunday afternoon after a seven-year-old child fell into an open sewer and died. Hundreds of angry residents of nearby colonies, accompanied by the inconsolable parents of Sujan, demonstrated against the authorities and demanded strict action against the company entrusted with the task of widening the highway in the area.

The angry mob also demanded action against the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for not providing immediate help. A heavy police presence helped keep the situation under control though the protesters had resorted to stone pelting.

Around 11 am, Sujan and his father were returning from a religious gathering held in the area. On reaching the under-construction road near the Greenland Public School, the two-wheeler driven by the father skidded and Sujan fell into an open manhole. This sewer line, it is learnt, carries the city's effluent to a treatment plant on the outskirts. The flow of water was so strong that Sujan's body was found an hour later in the nearby Qadian village.

Kanta Devi, Sujan's grandmother, complained: "The government boasts of the fact that they made so many roads, but no one bothers to see the inconvenience and the dangers that common people face due to these projects. The construction company did not bother to check that they had left a manhole uncovered and we lost our child. Who is responsible for this loss?"

Saroj Rani, the boy's mother, said: "The area councillor knew of such dangers but she did nothing. Even now, when so many people have come out of their homes to support us, the councillor is nowhere to be seen." Mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura reached the protest site but did not meet the aggrieved family.

The body of the child was handed over to the family after a postmortem.

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