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As Monsoon arrives in India, a wave of accidents come along with it. The combination of heavy rains, strong winds and several open manholes, appears with a slippery slope of deaths for many citizens.

Potholed roads and deadly manholes are always a major struggle for many Indians. The arrangement of manholes and roads are maintained by various state government authorities and private constructors.

The construction of manholes to control floods and continuous digging of roads for fixing underground utilities has led to more trenches and manholes in numerous cities. Many Local citizens remove manhole covers because they panic thinking the entire street will become uncontrollably flooded. So, in a desperate bid to create a drain for the growing rainwater they pull out the cover. There are two kinds of drains, one is a sanitary drain beneath which lies the sewerage network carrying waste. The other kind of drain is a rainwater drain, appearing as holes and gutters along the pavement and in street corners. And many children become preys of these manholes and drains.

In 2019, A tragic news went viral across the country when, Sujith Wilson, a two-year-old died on 26 October 2019 after falling into an abandoned deep borewell hole by his house in Nadukattupatti, a village near Trichy. He fell into the borewell on 25 October at around 5:45 pm while his mother was attending his elder brother. The rescue operations commenced around 8:00 pm and went on continuously for more than 80 hours. The rescue operation was affected by rain. Around 2:00 am, 30 October 2019 officials confirmed the death of the boy, and the last rites were held six hours later. Following and the sensitive and tragic aspect of the two-year boy's incident, politicians and celebrities across India paid tribute and offered their condolences for Sujith Wilson.
(Source- bbc.com)

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Even in Mumbai, A seven-year-old Sumit Jaiswar fell into a drain that meets Mithi river, in Dharavi, Mumbai on 15 July 2019. Sumit, who studied in the Kala Killa Marathi Municipal School, had decided to skip school as one of his friends wasn’t going either. Sumit and his brother Amit had told their mother they were going to the creek-side to play when Sumit slipped through the mud into one of the holes dug into a gutter. The incident occurred around 3 p.m. and locals gathered at the site and attempted to pull the boy out. Santosh Shinde, who was working nearby, jumped in the gutter to rescue the boy. When they managed to pull the boy out of the gutter, his father rushed him to Sion Hospital, where he was declared dead before arrival. Their neighbour Aman Gupta said, “children generally go out to collect glass bottles to sell them. People had gone out for work, otherwise, someone would’ve stopped them when they saw them going towards the nullah.” (Source- the hindu)

One more tragic incident took place at Jodhpur, in May 2019, when rescue workers retrieved the dead body of a four-year-old girl, who had slipped into a 440-feet deep borewell at a farm in Melana village of Jodhpur.​ ‘Seema’ had fallen into the borewell and was stuck at a depth of 260-feet. The body was pulled out after a 14-hour operation and was handed over to family members.
(Source- India TV)

These few deaths reveal the poor public works and neglect by the country’s richest corporation. But to a fair extent, it is also about unified citizen behaviour. The main sewer is a system designed to carry rainfall runoff. Often, this does not happen because the drains get packed with debris. Citizens have played a role in making rainwater drains dysfunctional, as littering the streets with plastic packets and other waste clogs these drains, resulting in water aggregation. The continuous concretisation of the city destroys wetlands which are natural absorbers of excess water. Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kanpur, Delhi and many other cities in India cannot deal with rain because of appalling drainage that can no longer cope with random urbanisation.

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It’s just that when people are regularly falling into uncovered drains and facing a darker world down there, we need to bite our tongues before we brag about how “modern” urban India is becoming.