‘Gandhi-giri’ message on open manhole irks officials, amuses citizens

Citizens hurrying to work paused momentarily to glance at a bouquet of flowers with the legend ‘Saheb’ sticking out of an open manhole on a footpath, here on Tuesday.

Many bemused people clicked on their mobile phones the potentially dangerous open gutter-lines without the mandatory protective cover, to warn gullible pedestrians of the risk, highlighted in a peaceful ‘Gandhi-giri’ style.

Local activist Dr Binu Varghese – who shared pictures and videos of that stretch of road – claimed the open manholes are opposite the home of local Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Sanjay Kelkar and near the old home of Nationalist Congress Party’s Housing Minister Dr Jitendra Awhad.

“Despite the clear hazards, neither the local civic authorities nor the elected leaders from Thane seem bothered. Whoever has planted the bouquet with the telling message (‘Saheb’ – Sir) has done a quiet service to society,” Dr Varghese pointed out.

He recalled how, on a footpath in Bhandup in adjoining Mumbai, two women had fallen into such open gutters where the covers were apparently pushed aside by heavy rains and floods. (June 10).

Both the women managed to clamber out without injuries even as Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar rushed to inspect the spot and ordered the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation to do the needful that day.

Dr Varghese called upon the elected leaders and the civic officials to cover up all the gutters or manholes in the city to prevent similar mishaps with heavy rain forecast for the next few days.