3-year-old went missing on Saturday, fell into stormwater facility

The search for a three-and-a-half-year-old boy who went missing in Tarmani on Saturday, ended on a tragic note on Sunday.

After a day-long frantic search by residents and fire service personnel, K. Dinesh was found dead inside a stormwater drain in Taramani.

Dinesh was the son of Kumar, who runs a petty shop off CSIR Road in Taramani, and Keerthika, a homemaker. The couple, who have a one-year-old daughter too, reside on Peeli Amman Koil Street.

On Saturday afternoon, Dinesh was playing with his grandfather Ganapathy who runs a petty shop selling tea on a platform at CSIR Road. “Dinesh was fond of his grandfather. Every day, he spent most of his time with Ganapathy, playing near the shop. His parents were going to admit him in school,” said A. Vijayakumar, a resident and DYFI functionary of the locality.

Around 1 p.m., after lunch, Ganapathy was sleeping in an autorickshaw parked near his shop, while Dinesh was playing in the area. When Ganapathy woke up, his grandson was missing. “His parents immediately started searching for him everywhere,” said Manikandan, an acquaintance of the family.

When the search failed to throw up clues to Dinesh’s whereabouts, his parents put up posters, with their contact details and Dinesh’s photo, in the locality.

“We thought someone might have kidnapped the child. However, since many lids on the platform over the stormwater drain along CSIR Road remain open most of the time, we informed the fire service personnel and requested them to check the drains,” said Vijayakumar.

Police and fire service personnel who searched for the boy till midnight on Saturday could not find the boy. On Sunday morning, the boy’s family sought the help of a Chennai Corporation conservancy worker and a resident of the locality, Srinivasalu.

Noticing that one of the lids located near Ganapathy’s shop was open, Srinivasalu went inside the drain, which is four feet deep with slush at the bottom for a depth of two feet. “I got inside and checked the left side of the drain. I then went towards the right and found the boy’s t-shirt. I could not bear the smell of the gas inside, but somehow managed to drag his body out and placed it on the platform,” said Srinivasalu, visibly shaken by the incident. “I have two kids myself and could not bear the sight,” he said.

Dinesh’s body was sent for a post-mortem examination to Royapettah Government General Hospital.

“Most of the stormwater drain lids in the locality are either broken or missing. Despite repeated requests, the Corporation does not take any efforts to replace them on time,” said Vijayakumar.

Late on Sunday afternoon, he said, police personnel had replaced the broken lid with a new one. When contacted, J. Parvathi Jothi, the councillor of the locality refused to comment on the issue.

A senior Corporation official said a detailed enquiry would be conducted and action taken against responsible persons.

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