Dwarka- Sudha Devi, a domestic help from sector 15 Bharat Vihar, Dwarka, fell in an uncovered manhole/drain in Sector 13 on October 5, 2022, around 7 pm, while returning home after visiting a fair at Sector 13. After the incident, she was taken to the hospital where the doctors declared her dead.
The incident comes as an eye-opener on the dismal state of pedestrian safety on Dwarka streets. It once again brings the subject of open manholes and missing drain covers into light showing the approach of the civic bodies. The particular area where the incident happened falls under the jurisdiction of DDA.
Dwarka has been a victim of open manholes and uncovered drains which in the city have been made footpaths along the main roads. Such footpaths over the drains are dangerous when the covers are missing.
The incident of Sudha Devi's death is not the first time a resident was hurt because of an open manhole in Dwarka. Jagmohan Verma, a senior citizen in his early seventies and a resident of Astha Apartments, Sector 6, Dwarka, was out for his evening walk on July 16, 2022, when he met with he fell into an open manhole near Dayanand Apartments, sector 6. As a result, he got a fracture in his leg and is still recovering. He says, “ This was an unfortunate accident and I still have to swell in my leg. It will take two more months to recover. DDA is responsible for such callousness and they must ensure the covering of manholes and open drains."
Like the incident of Jagmohan Verma, the wife of JC Malhotra, another senior citizen and a resident of Welcome Apartments CGHS, Dwarka, suffered a lot because she was injured after falling in an open drain on a footpath in Sector 3. Not just this, Malhotra himself once narrowly escaped such injury on the footpath near Batuk Ji and National Apartments, Sector 3. To avoid any such accidents, he then started a campaign by writing to the authorities, however, nothing much happened. He says, “If you fall into such pits, you could die. My wife suffered a lot because of a similar accident. Despite my campaign, the authorities did not do anything. I think authorities should be held responsible for any such accident that happens again."
Open manholes and missing covers over the drains have been an issue in the city for a long period. Another victim is Anil Parashar who was living in Sector 7 Dwarka but has now shifted to Mohali. He got injured twice due to a missing cover over the drain while he was on a walk. He says, “In 2017 I got a fracture in my leg and it took three months to get recover. In 2018 again I got injured but no fracture. Such accidents can be fatal for anyone. I wrote about the incident on social media to make make the authorities aware but nothing effective happened.”
Dwarka community members allege that it has hardly ever happened that the footpaths were in perfect shape without open drain covers. They appeal to DDA to make footpaths safe for pedestrians and place covers over the drains and manholes. Anjana Sinha, president of Dwarkadheesh Apartments Sector 12 says, “DDA must act upon the subject. The recent incident of Sudha Yadav is a tragedy and the authorities must ensure that such a thing never happens in future."