iconimg Thursday, June 04, 2015

Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 20, 2014
Television viewers will remember Prince from 2006. The five-year-old Haryana child spent more than two days in a 55ft-deep hole before he was miraculously rescued by the army. There have been other Princes. But most of them haven't been as lucky. Eight years on, their number is only rising.

In 2012, 194 children (up to 14 years old) died of falling in pits and manholes across the country, according to Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) data that was provided to Parliament. In 2011 and 2010, the number was 192 and 175, respectively. The MHA doesn't maintain separate data on children falling in borewells and pitches.

In the national capital Delhi, 5, 4 and 6 children died after falling in pits or manholes in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The maximum number of such deaths was reported from Madhya Pradesh – 35 (2010), 66 (2011) and 67(2012).

Other states that are yet to learn any lesson are Maharashtra (40 (2010), 31(2011) and 39(2012) deaths), Gujarat (23, 11 and 18), Uttar Pradesh (16, 11 and 19) and Chhattisgarh (4, 9 and 9 deaths). Andhra Pradesh, however, showed a considerable decline in curbing such incidents with 18, 14, 6 deaths being reported from the state in the three consecutive years.

In 2010, the Supreme Court had issued directives to all states and Union territories to adopt certain measures, such as registration of drilling agencies, capping wells properly, putting up signboards and fencing/filling of pits and channels after drilling operations.

States, meanwhile, don't even seem to be trying to save these children.

 

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