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Boy’s death a wake-up call for apartment owners

Ranjani Govind

Many feel that a swimming pool should be at a busy spot in the compound


‘The pool should be barricaded and safety nets should be placed with an alarm system’

‘Safety of the children is ultimately the responsibility of the family’


— Photo: K. Gopinathan

DEATH TRAP: An unguarded swimming pool at a posh apartment in Bangalore.

BANGALORE: Those living in swish flats in the city are now a shaken lot, especially those with young children, following the drowning of four-year-old Rakshith in a swimming pool in an apartment last weekend.

“All these days, I would think of the glamour quotient that a pool adds to a project, but this has (jolted us),” said Renuka Chowdhury, a yoga teacher in J.P. Nagar, who has decided to accompany her daughter whenever she goes for a swim.

The Sobha Windfall apartment at Amrutahalli, where little Rakshith met with tragic end, remains secluded from the dust and grime of Jakkur Main Road and the swimming pool is away from the entrance and the security. For the time being, the gate to the swimming pool has been locked after the police inspection. Said G. Venkatesh, supervisor of the apartment: “Although there are no permanent security personnel at the pool, a guard is sometimes on duty. But when the accident took place, there was no one.”

Mr. Venkatesh was not clear if there was any adult supervising Rakshith but Ranjini Rao, visiting her parents in the apartment, said: “All we heard was a woman screaming that there was a child in the pool. We rushed and my husband drove him to the hospital, sadly the boy did not survive.”

A senior employee of Sobha Developers, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “As a responsible corporate, we feel extremely bad for the family, but it is unfortunate that the boy was not accompanied by an adult. Sobha handed over the apartment to the owners four years ago. Accidents like this are rather sad, although the pool is not deep.”

Monitoring

“Monitoring energetic children at play is vital for any apartment association,” said architect S.N. Ramesh of R-Square Designs. “Even one-and-a-half-foot of water is enough to (pose a threat to) a child.”

The anti-skid tiles used around the pool generally do not pose a danger as far as grip was concerned, said the architect, which underlined the fact that such incidents were rare unless the childish pranks lead to a fall.

Mr. Ramesh suggested that every pool be guarded by customised strong nylon nets with entry and exit points spread from a centrally created hook and fastened with professional piping. “The piping grids can have movement sensors that signal with woofers in the control room for people to know.”

Anil Kumar, Managing Director, Krishna Enterprises, who provides fancy pools and clubhouses in most of his projects, said: “It is best to barricade the swimming area. Luxury apartments have pools and clubs for health and well being, not forgetting the facelift factor. “But certainly the responsibility of the child’s safety rests with the parents.”

Arif Vakil, director, Vakil Housing Development Corporation, said: “A pool should be very much a part of the movement and traffic area of the complex.”

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