More than 100 hours after two-year-old Fatehveer Singh fell into a 125-foot-deep, 9-inch-wide borewell at Sunam’s Bhagwanpura village, rescuers were still struggling to tunnel a distance of seven feet horizontally to reach him.
This despite a vertical shaft, made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) pipes of 36 inch diameter and dug parellel to the pit Fatehveer fell into, reaching the required depth on Sunday itself.
On Monday, NDRF rescue personnel made several attempts to reach the child, but were unsuccessful due to presence of two to three parallel bores close-by.
Angry at the slow pace of rescue efforts, locals blocked the Sunam-Mansa road and raised slogans against the Punjab government. Fatehveer’s family was not part of the dharna.
While Punjab government said that the delay was due to the operation being one of the most complex being handled by the NDRF, sources at ground zero pointed out several lapses in planning and execution. Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori Monday said: “An ultra-sophisticated, high-density drilling equipment had been pressed into service to detect the exact direction and distance through sensor.”As the rescue efforts dragged on, a political slug fest also broke out with AAP state convenor Bhagwant Mann and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal attacking the state government.
Meanwhile, CM Capt Amarinder Singh reacted for the first time on the issue: “Constantly monitoring the rescue operations by @NDRFHQ, local administration & outside experts, which has reached the required depth & are locating Fatehveer… We stand with his family & pray for his well being,” he tweeted.