THE DEATH of two-year-old Fatehveer, who died after falling down a 125-ft borewell in Bhagwanpura village of Sunam, has spurred the Punjab government to re-issue guidelines for digging borewells in the state.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday also asked the state’s disaster management group to finalise a set of standard operating procedures for manmade disasters after the child could not be rescued alive.
The guidelines, issued by the deputy commissioners of all districts, state that anyone who wants to dig a new borewell in a rural or urban area needs to get approval from the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) or block development panchayat officer (BDPO) and district magistrate. They also need to get their application registered with the district development programme officer or district magistrate. Moreover, a signboard carrying the name of the applicant and the agency digging up the borewell as well as its address must be put up at the site. The area should also be covered by barbed wire so as to avoid accidents.
Once the process of digging is complete, a concrete platform should be made at ground level. The opening of a borewell should be closed with steel plates which should be welded, or an end cap should be fixed tightly with nuts and bolts. Unused borewells must be filled with concrete.
Those not adhering to these guidelines will be booked as per law, say the guidelines issued on the CM’s directions.
Amarinder had in a press statement sought reports from DCs on all open borewells, and directed them to take immediate corrective action. He had also said that he had been personally monitoring the rescue operations and asked the disaster management group headed by the chief secretary to finalise a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to check and prevent such incidents. The group, which had been constituted to tackle natural calamities, has also been asked to study the inadequacies in the relief operations, if any, and give recommendations to ensure a better and quicker respond in the future, the statement said.
Other members of the group include principal secretary (finance), financial commissioner (rural development and panchayat) and financial commissioner (development).
On Monday, Amarinder had tweeted, “Have directed all DCs to ensure that no such open borewell exists in any of the districts & have asked them to submit a report within 24 hours. You can call on our helpline number 0172-2740397 if you have information about any such open borewells in your area.”