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100 hours on, toddler still stuck in Punjab borewell

Press Trust of India  |  Sangrur (Punjab) 

A two-year-old boy remained stuck in a 150-foot-deep borewell in Punjab's Sangrur district on Monday, amid mounting anger over the delay in retrieving him even after over 100 hours since he fell into it.

One of the rescuers said the depth of the parallel borewell, dug up to rescue the child, was more than the level at which he was stuck and it led to unwanted delay.

An ultra-sophisticated, high-density drilling equipment had been pressed into service to detect the exact direction and distance through sensor, district Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said.

Even as frantic rescue operation was underway to pull out the toddler, a large number of people assembled around the site and several of them raised slogans against the state government for the delay.

Villagers held a protest and blocked the Sunam-Mansa road for sometime, as they blamed the district administration for not being able to bring out the child despite four days. Heavy police was deployed around the site to prevent any untoward incident.

Fatehvir Singh, who is the only child of his parents and turned two on Monday, fell into the unused seven-inch wide borewell in a field around 4 pm on Thursday when he was playing near his house in Bhagwanpura village in Sangrur area. The toddler is stuck at a depth of 125 feet.

In a tweet on Monday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he was constantly monitoring the rescue operation, adding that state cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla and Thori were overseeing the operation.

"We stand with his family & pray for his well-being," he added.

Thori said the chief minister had arranged a helicopter for airlifting the child.

No food or water could be provided to the child after he fell into the borewell, officials said, adding that oxygen was being supplied to him.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the police, civil authorities, villagers and volunteers were carrying out the operation amid scorching heat.

Angry villagers alleged that the district administration was lacking experts and required technology in dealing with such an emergency situation.

Sensing anger of villagers, the grandfather of Fatehvir Singh urged people to be patient and exercise restraint.

State minister Gurpreet Kangar rejected the accusations of any negligence on the part of the state government in retrieving the child, saying it was constantly monitoring the situation.

"Whatever services the government could provide, it is providing (for the rescue). We have made arrangements for providing best medical care to the child. If we say there is negligence (on part of government), it is completely wrong," Kangar said in Chandigarh.

Thori said it was the toughest operation of the NDRF.

"It has never ever conducted such an operation at this depth. Usually in other cases for saving child, the depth of borewell was just 40-50 feet. We had clamped both the hands of the child, but it is our bad luck that Fatehvir was stuck in seven-inch wide borewell," he said.

Singla said the NDRF, civil authorities, villagers and volunteers had been involved in rescue operations day and night.

Several Opposition leaders, including Akali leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Lok Insaaf Party leader Simarjeet Bains and AAP leader Harpal Cheema visited the site and blamed the state government over delay in retrieving the child. Sikh religious preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal also visited the site.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 10 2019. 21:10 IST