Despite SC order, abandoned borewells a threat to children

FARIDKOT: Around 13 years ago, 5-year-old Prince fell into a borewell in Shahabad in Haryana.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, June 10

Around 13 years ago, 5-year-old Prince fell into a borewell in Shahabad in Haryana. In June 2010, 3-year-old Dilnaaz was met the same fate at Dhira village in Gurdaspur district. While Prince was saved, Dilnaaz could not be. Now, it is Fatehveer in Sangrur who is stuck in a borewell.

In March, 2010, the Supreme Court had asked the states to cap the discarded and abandoned borewells and dugwells in their territories and fence the wells so that children could be saved from falling into them.

The Agriculture Department made customary surveys of villages in the area to trace the discarded and abandoned borewells, which were posing a threat to small children and inebriated persons. A large number of such borewells, five to10 in every village, were found in Moga, Muktstar, Bathinda and Faridkot districts.

However, a few days after the passing of orders by the Supreme Court, a move to identify and close the abandoned borewells was dumped.

In view of Fatehveer’s falling into a borewell, the Punjab Chief Minister has ordered to take action against those responsible for open borewells and submit a report within 24 hours. He has asked the public to inform the authorities concerned about open borewells immediately.

In Moga district, almost all 300 villages have on an average nine to 10 such discarded and abandoned borewells, said (on condition of anonymity) a senior functionary in the Agriculture Department.

Though a proper barrier need to be put around such bores to prevent children from reaching there and all discarded wells should be filled with soil and sand, but only three (out of 359) dug-wells were found to be with barrier in Faridkot in September 2010, revealed the data in the Agriculture Department here.

The number of abandoned borewells and dugwells has increased manifold in the past 15 years after a steep fall in underground water in the area.

Earlier, farmers used dig deep wells to fit water lifting pumps into the wells, but now after the start of submersible water pumps.

The farmers used the new technique to draw more water from much deeper water levels and they discontinue the old technique of fitting water lifting pumps into the wells, said Avtar Singh, a former sarpanch of Kameanna village in Faridkot.

Apex court instructions

  • In March, 2010, the Supreme Court had asked the states to cap the discarded and abandoned borewells and dugwells in their territories and fence the wells so that children do not fall into them.
  • The Agriculture Department carried out customary surveys of villages in the area to trace the discarded and abandoned borewells, posing a threat to children and inebriated persons. A large number of such borewells, five to10 in every village, were found in Moga, Muktstar, Bathinda and Faridkot districts.

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