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Missing minor found dead in open manhole

By Our Correspondent 2023-03-30
BAHAWALNAGAR: A two-year-old boy, who went missing a day ago, was found dead in an uncovered manhole in Model Town here on Wednesday, the family said.The incident triggered a protest by the victim`s family and residents of the area.

The family said infant Habib went missing on Tuesday night, and the next day his body was found in an open manhole located on the same street. It seemed that the child accidentally fell into the open manhole while playing. However, an autopsy was being conducted to find out the cause of the death, the family added.

Residents told the media that the sewerage work in the area had been delayed for the last eight months, and a number of manholes in several areas, including Model Town, were left uncovered for a long time. Their written complaints about the matter remained unattended by the Bahawalnagar Municipal Committee(MC) officials, they alleged.

Declaring the MC officials responsible for the infant`s death, the residents demanded that the authorities take action against those responsible for the incident.

When contacted, MC Chief Officer Shafiq Baloch told Dawn that the public health department was responsible for covering the manholes in the under-construction areas until the construction work was completed and the project was handed over to the MC.

He said: `Usually the public health department officially informs the MC about the area where construction work is started.

However, in this case, the MC was kept in the dark by the department regarding the construction work in the Model Town area.

The SDO and public health EXEN were not available for comments.

After the tragedy, some manholes were repaired and covered properly by the MC, according to residents, who were angered at the child`s death.