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80-hour operation to pull child out of borewell ends in

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Press Trust of India Tiruchirappalli (TN)
Rescuers pulled out the decomposed and mangled body of a 2-year-old boy early Tuesday from deep inside an unused borewell, after a futile 80-hour attempt to save the child who had fallen in while playing near his house in a Tamil Nadu village.
After a post mortem at a government hospital, the body of Sujith Wilson was handed over to his parents who buried him in a heart wrenching funeral conducted by the local parish priest at a nearby graveyard.
Sujith had fallen into the disused farm borewell while playing near his house in Nadukattupatti on Friday evening, and various central and state agencies were called in to rescue him.
Initially, he was stuck at a depth of about 30 feet but subsequently slipped further down, and the body was finally pulled out from a depth of 88 feet, officials said.
Commissioner of Revenue Administration J Radhakrishnan said rescuers noticed a foul smell around 10.30 pm on Monday following which medical personnel and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) assessed the situation.
After Radhakrishnan declared that Wilson was dead, the rescue operation turned into an effort to retrieve the body, which was done in keeping with the national guidelines on "managing the dead" during such circumstances.
The tragedy had drawn national attention with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeting words of sympathy and encouragement.
Tiruchirappalli district collector S Sivarasu said personnel of the national and state disaster response force personnel retrieved the body.
Earlier on Monday, a heavy German-made drilling machine was deployed to dig a parallel shaft to reach the boy, but rescue efforts were hampered by rocky soil and rain.
As the boy's body arrived, a pall of gloom descended on the village and people lined up to pay their last respects.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, State Ministers visited the bereaved family at Nadukattupatti village and offered their condolences.
Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 20 lakh for the family--Rs 10 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund and Rs 10 lakh from the AIADMK.
He said all out efforts were made to rescue the child by deploying personnel from multiple agencies, including the National Disaster and State Disaster Response Force and other entities including the ONGC for technical expertise.
Despite the sustained rescue efforts surmounting challenges like rocky soil, it was unfortunate that the boy could not be pulled out alive, he said.
In a statement, he urged people to follow rules and properly close unused borewells in their private lands.
"I have ordered district collectors to ensure compliance of rules in respect of borewells," he said and cited rules notified in 2015 on getting approval, maintenance, and safety aspects.
The rules, among other aspects, mandates proper closure of defunct borewells upto the surface level.
Collectorates have appealed to people to inform authorities if they find unused open wells or borewells so that these can be shut immediately.
DMK chief MK Stalin squarely blamed the AIADMK government for "no proper planning," in carrying out the rescue operations and alleged valuable time was wasted.
He also alleged that the National Disaster Response Force personnel arrived at the spot quite late and the state government was involved in experimental steps to rescue the boy without a clear cut plan.
Citing Supreme Court guidelines and state laws that mandate safety measures and proper closure of abandoned borewells, he said "all these things became a mirage in the AIADMK government's rule and snatched away the life of the toddler."

Stalin placed a wreath at the burial site of the child, visited the bereaved family members and handed over cash assistance of Rs 10 lakh.
On Stalin's allegations against the government, Palaniswami said it was a deliberate "false accusation," for political mileage.
PMK founder S Ramadoss said it could not be proper to blame the rescue efforts.Newer technologies and equipment should be in place to successfully tackle such exigencies, he added.
Top actor Rajinikanth described Sujith's death as "very painful."

"May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to the bereaved parents," he said.
Meanwhile, V Ponraj, a former associate of former president late APJ Abdul Kalam, filed a plea in the Madras High Court seeking strict implementation of apex court guidelines and state government rules to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
The court made strong observations asking whether the government needs a corpse to act on implementing each and every statute and sought from authorities details on action taken against violators.

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First Published: Oct 29 2019 | 7:15 PM IST

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