Punjab govt orders closure of all open borewells across state after two-year-old dies in Sangrur mishap

Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday asked the state's disaster management group to finalise a set of standard operating procedures for man-made disasters after a two-year-old child could not rescued alive from a 150-foot-deep borewell in Sangrur district.

Singh sought reports from all deputy commissioners on all existing open borewells in the state and directed them to take immediate corrective action to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future, an official release said in Chandigarh.

 Punjab govt orders closure of all open borewells across state after two-year-old dies in Sangrur mishap

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. Twitter@capt_amarinder

"Have directed all DCs to ensure that no such open borewell exists in any of the districts and have asked them to submit a report within 24 hours. You can call on our helpline number 0172-2740397 if you have information about any such open borewells in your area," the chief minister tweeted.

Headed by the chief secretary, the state disaster management group, which had been constituted to tackle natural calamities, has also been asked to study inadequacies, if any, in the relief operations, and give recommendations to ensure better and quicker operations in the future in case of any such or similar manmade disasters, the release said.

Fatehvir Singh, who had turned two on Monday, was stuck in the borewell at a depth of 125 feet.

The only child of his parents, Fatehvir Singh fell into the borewell, which is in a field, while playing at Bhagwanpura village in Sangrur around 4 pm on Thursday. The borewell was covered with a cloth and the boy accidentally stepped on it.

An official spokesman said on Tuesday that National Disaster Response Force personnel were able to tie a knot around the child's wrists in less than 10 hours of arrival, but the narrow diameter of the pipe caused the kid to get stuck.

He said earth moving machines had to be used to dig a pit to reduce the depth from where the operations were carried out.

The district administration had mobilised and initiated rescue operations within minutes of receiving information of the child falling into the abandoned borewell, the official said.

"All possible technical support was also provided by the district administration but it took 46 hours to dig a parallel pit and lay pipes against its wall to prevent it from caving in. But problems with the angle at which the pipe was going in further obstructed the operation, necessitating some horizontal digging also," he added.

The NDRF joined in and the army were also immediately informed.

According to NDRF officials, who were in constant touch with army authorities all through the operation, no physical harm was caused to the child during the extraction process.

"The army did not have the skills or the equipment for such a tricky operation, for which the NDRF was best equipped," the spokesperson said.

A massive rescue operation was launched to bring the child out safely. Officials managed to supply oxygen but no food or water could be provided to him.

Rescue workers finally pulled out the toddler at 4.45 am on Tuesday. An ambulance, with doctors and a life-support ventilator on board rushed him to the PGIMER, Chandigarh, where an autopsy suggested that he died a few days back.

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Updated Date: Jun 11, 2019 23:37:59 IST