Sangrur borewell incident: 2-year-old’s death highlights administrative apathy, disregard for Supreme Court order – Top Developments

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Updated: June 11, 2019 1:01:25 PM

The two-year-old was rescued from a 150-foot-deep borewell in Bhagwanpura village in Punjab's Sangrur. He was rushed to Chandigarh where doctors declared him brought dead.

Sangrur borewellA two-year-old kid could not be saved after he was rescued from a 150-foot-deep borewell in Sangrur of Punjab.

A mammoth 110-hour operation to rescue a two-year-old toddler from a 150-foot-deep borewell ended in tragedy after doctors at the PGIMER, Chandigarh, around 90 km from the site of the incident, declared him brought dead. The boy got stuck in the borewell after falling into an unused borewell in a field while playing last Thursday at around 4 pm. The incident took place in Bhagwanpura village in Punjab’s Sangrur. The kid, identified as Fatehveer Singh, turned 2 years old on Monday.

Officials involved in the rescue operation said that Singh was stuck at a depth of 125 feet. The operation to rescue him was launched by the National Disaster Response Force personnel who dug a parallel borewell with a diameter of 36 inches and pulled the child out of the seven-inch-wide borewell on Tuesday morning at 5:30 am and rushed to PGIMER, Chandigarh. The doctors at the hospital declared him brought dead.

Toddler dies in Punjab after falling into borewell: Top developments

1. Administrative apathy: The incident comes as a stark reminder of precious lives being lost to pure administrative apathy. Numerous incidents of similar nature in the recent past have even invited the wrath of none less than the Supreme Court, but to little avail. In the Sangrur case, locals said the borewell was unused for seven years and was covered with a piece of cloth. The kid accidentally stepped on it and fell down. His mother tried to rescue him, but failed.

Rescue operation underway to pull out two-year-old boy from a borewell in Punjab.

2. What Supreme Court ordered: The Supreme Court had in 2009 ordered all the state governments to cover all the borewells and tubewells with wire meshes to prevent children from falling into them. The court had also issued guidelines for the districts to enforce a basic safeguard while using borewells and tubewells. The court passed this order after a child fell into a borewell in Haryana. Even after the Supreme Court’s order, several children have died after falling into borewells left uncovered.

3. Locals allege delayed response: On Monday, angry locals protested against the district administration and the Punjab government over the delay in rescuing the child. A large number of people gathered around the incident site and raised slogans against the government. The locals even blocked the Sunam-Mansa road.

4. The operation: The administration called the NDRF and an operation was launched to rescue the child. A massive rescue operation was launched to bring the child safely out of the borewell. Officials managed to supply oxygen but no food or water could be provided to him. A parallel borewell of 36 inches in diameter was dug to rescue the child.

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5. Toddler survived without food, water: According to reports, officials managed to supply oxygen to the child stuck in the borewell but were unable to provide him with food or water could. The NDRF officials reached the child using a new 36-inch wide borewell that was dug up only to rescue the child.

6. Doctors on standby: A team of doctors was stationed at the incident site to provide medical assistance to Singh as soon as he was pulled out. An ambulance equipped with a ventilator was also stationed there. The kid was rushed to Chandigarh but he was declared brought dead by the doctors.

Rescue operation underway to pull out a toddler from a borewell in Punjab.

7. Tragic end: Fatehveer Singh was the only child of his parents. He turned two years old on Monday. The borewell he fell into was just seven inches wide and was located in a field close to his house. The incident took place when he was playing in a field in Bhagwanpura village in Sherpur Tehsil of Sangrur District.

8. Declared brought dead: Fatehveer Singh was rescued at 5:12 am on Tuesday by the NDRF and police. He was rushed to PGIMER in Chandigarh in an ambulance amid police security. Doctors at the hospital declared Singh brought dead. PGIMER Medical Superintendent AK Gupta said that a postmortem of the body will be carried out and then the body will be handed over to the family.

9. Amarinder Singh offers condolences: Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has expressed grief over the incident. He has now sought reports from all district collectors regarding open borewell in the state so that such terrible accidents can be prevented in the future.

Rescue operation underway to pull out a toddler from a borewell in Punjab.

10. Second such incident in last 3 months: This was the second such incident in the area in last three months. In March, a 18 months old boy was rescued from a 70-foot-deep borewell in Haryana’s Hisar district after 48 hours operation. Earlier in July 206, Army lad launched a massive operation in Haryana’s Kurukshetra to rescue a boy trapped in a 60-foot-deep borewell. The boy was rescued after 48 hours.

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