Mumbai: Mother, toddler have narrow escape as ceiling collapses

A mother and her one-year-old son were saved by a whisker on Friday night, after a big chunk of their ceiling collapsed just inches away from where they were asleep. The incident took place at a railway housing building in Dahisar, just when the household was preparing to go to bed.

While both mother and child are safe, the incident does raise questions about the conditions of staff quarters provided by the railways, at a time when the 'Swachh Parisar' drive is being carried out to keep housing colonies clean.

Around 11 pm on September 14, as 28-year-old Snehal Manchekar and her one-year-old child were sleeping on the floor, a huge chunk of the ceiling crashed to the ground. "They escaped, but only just. The huge chunk of cement was very close to falling on them," said P Lanjekar, Snehal's mother.

The family had been complaining to rail authorities and to unions as well, but to no avail. Other family members, including Snehal's husband, who works for Western Railway, were outside at the time.

"Repair work is currently on. Due to oxidation, the plaster gave way and fell. There were no injuries to anybody," said Ravinder Bhakar, chief PRO, Western Railway.

Such is the poor state of several railway colonies in the city. Employees residing in Bandra, Khar and Santacruz railway quarters also face issues. In Bandra and Khar, the grass is overgrown, leading to snakes entering the society during the monsoon. There is also a lot of waterlogging that takes place.

Coincidentally, Western Railway authorities are undertaking the 'Swachh Parisar' drive on September 23-24, where intense drives will be undertaken to clean-up and improve offices, including hospitals, coaching depots and railway colonies.

Waste to energy plants will be set-up in railway colonies, while beautification of premises will be done by pruning trees, plantation and landscaping. They shall also remove unauthorised encroachments near rail premises and clean drains at stations.

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