Four dead, 10 trapped inside well in MP’s Vidisha
Ten people are still feared trapped inside a well in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district, about 100 kms north of Bhopal, police said on Friday. Four bodies have been recovered, and 23 people of Lalpathar village have been rescued.
Rescue operation has been on for the past 16 hours after about 40 people, who had gathered around a 40-feet-deep well to watch the rescue of a 10-year-old boy, fell into it when its boundary wall caved in under their weight, police said late on Thursday.
Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra said, “Teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are trying to rescue others but the operation has slowed down due to mudslide inside the well. Three JCB machines are being used to pull out mud from the well.”
According to villagers of Lalpathar, the rescue operation is getting delayed due to a strategic error. “The teams dug a parallel space for pumping out water from the well but it didn’t work due to mudslide inside the well. The expert team didn’t analyse the quality of the soil before digging parallel space,” said Devendra Kumar, a local resident.
A tractor which was being used to pump out water also fell into the well due to mudslide. Four police personnel who were sitting on the tractor sustained injuries, said Sanjay Sahu, additional superintendent of police, Vidisha.
Villagers blamed the sarpanch and local administration for the accident.“The well is the only source of water for 700 families of the village. A large number of people came here for fetching water. The safety wall of the well was weak and villagers informed the sarpanch and panchayat secretary about it. Even the boy fell into the well as a part of it caved in,” said Anita, who lives near the well.
Sarpanch, panchayat secretary and collector couldn’t be contacted for response.
Bhopal additional director general of police A Sai Manohar said, “We can’t comment anything on this incident. We are now concentrating on rescue operation only.”
Meanwhile, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered a high-level inquiry in the matter and also announced an ex gratia of ₹5 lakh for the next kin of the deceased and ₹50,000 to those injured in the accident.
Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed his grief. “Deeply saddened by the news of many people falling in the tragic accident that took place in Ganjbasoda, Vidisha, I pray to god for everyone’s safety,” he said in his tweet.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also expressed condolence to the family members of those who lost their lives in the incident.