Good Samaritan: Mumbai woman ‘guards’ open manhole for hours

Mumbai, Aug 10 (IANS) A Mumbai pavement dweller has become a social media darling after her daring act helped avert potential road tragedy horrors and also enabled flood waters to drain out quickly during last week’s monsoon fury.
Disregarding her own safety or wellbeing, the poor flower-seller, Kanta M. Kalan, 50, forced open a gutter manhole cover on the high-traffic Tulsi Pipe Road in Matunga west on August 4.
This was to prevent further flooding on the road which was already submerged in three feet of water after torrential rains that day, she told the media.
Unfortunately, the flood waters had washed out Kalan’s own tiny shanty and around Rs 10,000 savings, but she decided to do something which could clear out the flood waters as heavy rains continued to lash Mumbai on that day.
She took a piece of cloth and tied it to the manhole cover and from a short distance, with the help of a passing motorcyclist, pulled it open to allow the flood waters to gush away directly into the sewerage lines underneath.
As it continued to rain most part of the day, she stood beside the manhole and directed the oncoming traffic to avoid any possible tragedy – from 6 am to lunch time.
Later, Kalan had developed fever after her ordeal beside the manhole with rains and gushing flood water around her.
A resident in an adjacent building, Sameer Patekar clicked videos of her and posted them on social media, earning her likes and laudatory comments from people and police personnel.
Kalan’s husband Maruti was left paralysed after a train accident over a decade ago. She alone supports her two schoolgoing daughters — Janaki and Tamishree — with the income from selling flowers.
The money she lost was to pay for the online class fees of her daughters studying in Class 8 and 10, respectively, but her immediate priority was to get a roof on their heads as the rains continued.
Besides, Kalan is also worried that if she is unable to arrange the tuition fees, her daughters may be forced to drop out this year.
The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation local Ward officials though declined to comment on the issue.

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