Shocked at the drowning of 14 students of a Pune college off Murud beach, the Bombay High Court today rapped the Maharashtra Government and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) for not putting in place adequate safety measures in beaches in the state.
The court rap came even as parents of some of the 14 students of Abeda Inamdar College who drowned at Murud-Janjira beach in Raigad district on February 1 alleged “negligence” on the part of the college authorities in the aftermath of the tragedy and gheraoed P A Inamdar, president of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society (MCES).
“It is shocking that 14 students of which ten were girls died after drowning two days back at the Murud-Janjira beach. There is no system in place. There were no warning signals, no lifeguards and no watch-towers,” a Division Bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni said while hearing a public interest litigation on beach safety.
The Court came down heavily on the state and the civic body for not implementing a Government Resolution on measures to be taken up to keep beaches secure so as to avoid untoward incidents.
In 2006, the high court had passed certain directions after which the Government issued a resolution on the issue the same year.
“The government is yet to implement the resolution. You (the government and the civic body) have a resolution directly on the issue but still nothing has been done. Ask the city collector why the resolution has not been implemented,” the court said, while considering the PIL filed by the NGO Janhit Manch.
“There are so many beaches in the city itself like Juhu beach, Gorai beach, Aksa beach and so on. There is so much crowd in these places especially children. With no system in place how does the government propose to avoid such incidents (drowning),” the bench said.
Giving the example of how Goa has deployed beach police at the seashore, the court said the Maharashtra Government should also consider the same.
The court posted the petition for hearing on February 12 and asked both government and corporation to say why the resolution has not yet been implemented.
At a condolence meet organized by the Abeda Inamdar College in Pune, the parents of the deceased victims vented their anguish and alleged negligence by the college management in the incident.
The parents alleged that they were pushed out unceremoniously by the college authorities when they tried to seek an explanation on their “negligence”.
“I lost my daughter in the incident. On the tragic day, the college did not even notify me about the incident. It was us who bore the expenses of the ambulance vehicle in which my daughter’s body was carried to the city. The college did nothing,” Shakila Sayyad, mother of victim Safin Sayyad, said.
Savitribai Phule Pune University Vice-Chancellor Dr W N Gade, who attended the condolence meet, said a detailed report would be sought from the affiliated college on the incident.
“We would see whether the guidelines laid down by the varsity regarding educational tours were followed during the picnic,” he said.