An inspection team, appointed by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), to investigate the infrastructure and safety measures at the College Square swimming pool, where a novice swimmer recently drowned, conducted their preliminary investigations today, the report of which will be submitted to the civic body.
A team of investigators from Life Saving Society of India (LSSI) today visited the College Square swimming club and carried out preliminary investigations, in a bid to ascertain whether the swimming pool, which is a natural water body(pond) instead of an artificial one, has necessary infrastructures and safety measures in place.
The pool where the incident had taken place was thoroughly examined by the experts. The team was also accompanied by a representative of the Calcutta district swimming association.
A 17-year-old novice swimmer, Md. Shahbaz, died on 4 August, after he drowned in the swimming pool at College Square where he was a recent entrant. The youth drowned at around 6.30 in the morning while he was practising in the pool managed by Calcutta University Institute, Swimming Section.
Mr Debashish Kumar, member mayor-in-council (MMIC), parks and squares, KMC, has ordered all the swimming pools in College Square that teaches swimming in natural water-bodies such as in ponds to be shut down.
He said that swimming activities in these facilities will only resume after thorough investigation is done to ensure they have proper safety measures and lifeguards.
A member of Hedua swimming club pointed out that visibility is also an issue in such swimming pools carved out of natural water bodies since the water is mostly turbid. Questions are being raised as to whether there should be separate swimming pools for beginners which are not a natural water bodies.
One of the officials of the investigation team said: “We are here to conduct a preliminary investigation into the incident. Our main role is to ascertain whether the swimming club has necessary infrastructure and safety measures. We have our list of necessary infrastructure for swimming pools and we will adhere to that in the course of our investigation. We have started the investigations from today and we will compile our findings into a report which will be submitted to KMC.”
It was learnt that the team will also look into whether there is efficient lighting at the swimming pool.
On the day of the incident, eyewitnesses had claimed that Md.Shahbaz was supposed to swim within an enclosed area with shallow water which was a beginners’ section.
But he somehow slipped out of that area and landed up in the main pool with deep water, where he drowned. Locals also questioned why there were no lifeguards in the swimming club. It also came to light that the club had a dearth of trainers, since on the day of the incident, there were reportedly only two trainers supervising about 18 swimmers.