By Taniya Dutta
This is the soul-stirring moment a four-year-old is pulled out of a 14-foot-deep bore well after he slipped into it while playing.
Ganesh had fallen into a 400-foot-deep borewell and got stuck at 14 feet narrow shaft while playing on a private agriculture land in Sikheri in Madhya Pradesh in central India.
His parents, Ghan Shyam and Sangeeta Bai, both in their early 20s and poor daily wage labours were out working on the fields, when they were informed about the incident at 1:30 pm.
The distressed father Ghan Shyam reached the spot and found villagers trying to rescue the child on their own.
Soon a team of 25 policemen and rescue workers arrived at the spot with an excavator machine and ambulance.
A long rope was thrown at the toddler who held on to it for five long hours while oxygen was supplied to him through a pipe.
After painstaking digging, the rescue workers and locals managed to drill a tunnel parallel to the shaft and successfully pulled Ganesh out of it.
The boy was immediately taken to a government run hospital where his condition was said to be stable.
Amit Singh, Superintendent of Police, said: “It was quite a difficult rescue operation. The boy had fallen into the 400 feet borewell that was open and got stuck at 14 feet.
“Even a small mistake could create big troubles for the kid.
“Firstly we had to ensure continuous oxygen supply to the kid and then we started the rescue with the help of skilled staff. We manage to bring out child safe from the bore well by 7:00 pm.”
Ram Chander, on whose land the borewell was left open, was called in but no case was registered against him for the negligence.
In the past few years, several children have fallen into these open wells, most of which are illegally drilled in order to extract water in areas where groundwater is depleting.
Most of these are borewells are abandoned when they stop yielding any water and are left open.
While the children who play in the fields fall into them, they not always fall at the bottom as the shafts are very narrow and they get stuck in between.
Due to the regular recurrence of such events over the years, the central and state governments have made regulations to ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place to prevent such incidents.
The Supreme Court had to intervene and issued guidelines to prevent such incidents in 2010 that require the landowners to take written permission from authorities for digging bore wells, compulsory registration of all drilling agencies, erection of signboards and barriers around the drilling site, construction of cement platform around the well casing, capping of well by welding steel plates and filling up of unused bore wells.
But despite these regulations the cases, some even fatal, continue unabated.
Though there seems to be no national register of children getting trapped in bore well shafts the numbers with the home ministry in Delhi show that the number of accidental deaths of children up to 14 years due to a fall in pits and manholes have gone up from 175 in 2010, to 192 in 2011 and further to 194 in 2012.