Tension over delay in retrieving child from borewell in Punjab

Sangrur/Chandigarh: Tension prevailed among villagers in Sangrur over the inability of the Punjab government to retrieve a toddler who has been trapped in a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell for the past five days.

Thousands of angry protesters blocked the road leading to Bhagwanpura village in Sunam subdivision, some 15 kms from district headquarters at Sangrur, where the incident occurred.

Sensing trouble, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for the first time asked officials to ensure that no borewell is left open in any district and sought a report in 24 hours.

The Chief Minister said he was constantly monitoring the operation personally to rescue the child.

He said in a tweet that he was constantly monitoring the ongoing rescue operation being led by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

This was his first reacting since the incident occurred.

“The operation is getting delayed due to a lack of technical expertise of the local administration,” said Ajaib Singh, a local resident.

The child, Fatehveer Singh, stumbled into the borewell that was covered with cement bags at around 4 p.m. on June 6, according to his mother Gagandeep Kaur.

The rescue team, comprising 26 members of the NDRF and the Indian Army with district administration staff, has been involved in the day-and-night operation.

There was no official confirmation about the health of the child till date.

Lack of expertise and technical snags one after another were blamed for the delay in the massive rescue operation that entered its fifth day on Monday.

Special teams have been working day and night in a tunnel that was dug parallel to the abandoned borewell.

The newly-laid 36-inch-diameter parallel shaft was used to make a passage to the child who is stuck at a depth of 115 feet in the borewell that has a nine-inch diameter, rescuers said.

A team of doctors, ambulances and a chopper were stationed at the spot to provide emergency aid.

A movement in the child’s body was noticed at 5 a.m. on Saturday, almost 40 hours after the incident as a camera was used to monitor his condition. After that there has been no movement in his body.

Thousands of people have been sending messages to TV channels, wishing luck to the rescuers.

On March 22, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, who fell into a 70-foot narrow borewell in Haryana’s Hisar district, was rescued after a 48-hour operation.

In July, 2006, Army engineers in Haryana’s Kurukshetra town had rescued a little boy trapped in a 60-foot well for two days.