M A I N   N E W S

Maahi brought out dead, demand to punish the negligent grows
Sunit Dhawan/TNS

Manesar/Gurgaon, June 24
Four-year-old Maahi, who fell into a borewell four days ago, today became the first victim of Haryana's reckless growth of a city that prides itself on its various modern-day monikers of being a hub of automobile, garment, IT and BPO sectors.

Hoping against hope, the family of Maahi at Khoh village near Manesar was shattered as her body was taken out on Sunday afternoon. On June 20, the day of her fatal fall into the 68-ft-deep borewell, Maahi's parents were celebrating her fourth birthday.

The 86-hour rescue operation was carried out by an Army team and assisted by officials from the district administration, fire, police and revenue departments.

The death drew angry reactions not only from Maahi's parents but also the neighbours, who blamed the authorities for taking a long time in getting to the girl. They also blamed the authorities for leaving the illegal borewell one among hundreds of them that dot the area - uncovered.

Maahi was immediately rushed to a local ESI hospital by an ambulance waiting for her near the rescue-pit, where the Gurgaon Civil Surgeon, Dr Praveen Garg, declared her dead.

Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner PC Meena said an FIR had been lodged against the landowner, Rohtash Tayal of Delhi, as well as the drilling agency, for illegally digging the borewell. He said a magisterial probe has already been ordered.

The incident highlighted gross violations of court orders, including the one from the Supreme Court that has made it mandatory for those seeking to dig such borewells to obtain permission from the district administration, sarpanch or statutory authorities at least 15 days before the start of work.

In 2010, the Punjab and Haryana HC directed the Gurgaon administration not to allow digging of any borewell. Last year, the Central Ground Water Authority declared Gurgaon as a notified area and banned digging of borewells without permission.

Maahi's body was handed over to her parents after the post-mortem. Her parents took the body to their native village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, for cremation.

Maahi parents have sought strict action against those responsible for the death. "I can't get my daughter back, but I want justice," said Maahi's mother Sonia.

The victim's father, Neeraj Upadhyay, who works in a local factory as a security supervisor, demanded action against those responsible for the delay in rescuing his daughter.




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