Rescue workers were racing against time to save five-year-old Mahi from the deep end of a 70-foot abandoned borewell in which she has been stuck without food or water for the past 48 hours at Khoh,Manesar.
Though it was not clear if the girl was still alive because CCTV cameras failed to show any movement inside the well,Army and district administration rescue teams have managed to dig a parallel pit and were now drilling a connecting tunnel of around three metres long to get to the child,an official said.
However,the Army team was struggling to dig the last one metre of the link tunnel because hard rocks have come in the way,rescue officials said. Deputy Commissioner P C Meena said Army personnel were making the tunnel with their bare hands.
Though we have reached the final stage of the rescue operation,we cant say how long it will take to rescue the girl. We dont know if Mahi is conscious or not, Meena said.
District administration officials said medical emergency units have been positioned on the site to handle the situation after the girl is rescued. The Army,the state government and private hospital Medanta have provided ambulances,which have ICU facilities.
Health officials said they were pumping oxygen into the borewell through a pipe,while a CCTV camera has also been lowered to monitor the child.
Mahis father Neeraj Upadhyay had claimed that he had talked to her for at least an hour after she accidentally slipped into the well around 11 pm on Wednesday night when she was playing with other children and celebrating her birthday.
Residents of the area alleged that Upadhyays daughter could have been saved had the district administration called NSG commandos stationed just a couple of kilometres away rather than waiting for the Army to reach the spot.
Officials refuted the allegations saying the Army had demonstrated their expertise in rescuing children from borewells,such as six-year-old Prince in July 2006 in Kurukshetra. Moreover,NSG is an elite force that cannot be called in for such emergency situations,they said.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said efforts were on get the girl out. Whosoever is responsible for the carelessness (for not covering the borewell),a case is being made against him, he said.
A source said the mouth of the borewell was generally kept covered with a heavy stone. The family had hired caterers for the birthday party on Wednesday night. A vehicle carrying utensils and other stuff got stuck because of the stone,prompting the workers to remove it. They forgot to cover the pit again. This led to the accident, the source said.
After the Mahi fell into the abandoned borewell on her birthday,the administration swung into action and registered an FIR under Sections 188 and 336 of IPC against houseowner Rohtas Tayal,who is from Najafgarh but currently residing in Dwarka. Section 188 refers to violation of government orders.
Moreover,he would be charged with contempt of court because the Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned digging of borewells without permission.