Operation to rescue 8-year-old from borewell called off
Rescue operations to pull out an eight-year-old girl who fell into a 60-foot borewell in Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad district were called off in the wee hours on Saturday after experts suggested that six nearby houses had developed cracks and could cave in if digging was not stopped.
Sub-divisional magistrate (Sadar) Amit Aseri said the tough decision had to be taken in the larger interests of the people living in the vicinity. Administration officials supervising the rescue explained the dangers of carrying on with the digging to the girl’s family, after which they gave their consent, he said.
“They have given in writing that since the rescue operations were posing a threat to life and property in the area, they have consented to calling them off,” Aseri said.
The girl, Seema, had fallen in on Wednesday afternoon after labourers digging the borewell for her uncle, Mahesh Chandra, left the site in Rashidpur village unguarded during their lunch break. Since then, rescue teams from the Indian Army’s Sikh Regiment, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been struggling to pull the girl out.
Officials supervising the rescue said a parallel channel had been dug alongside the borewell to reach the child but loose soil was hampering operations. Two soldiers had got trapped on Friday but were pulled out. The child had also slipped deeper into the borewell. With the digging threatening the lives of residents of the area, there was little option but to call off the 55-hour rescue effort, they said.
The girl’s uncle, Chandra, said the walls and ceilings of the houses of six villagers — Shivaram, Chavinath, Ram Dularey, Vijendra Kumar, Girish Babu and Ram Kishore — had developed deep cracks. “Since there seemed little hope of pulling Seema out alive, the villagers did not want to risk their homes,” he said. Seema’s family members were inconsolable as the rescue teams started filling in the parallel channel near the borewell on Saturday and the soldiers prepared to return to Fatehgarh and Agra, an official supervising the operations said.
Her mother, Urmila, fainted several times as she spoke of her daughter. Sobbing uncontrollably, she said, “I’ve lost my biggest support. My son works outside and Seema, despite being so young, took care of me. She was my friend,” she said. Her husband, Naresh Rajpoot, passed away some years ago. “I do not know how she reached the borewell and fell in. I just cannot bear the thought that she will not be with me any longer,” Urmila said.
Seema’s 23-year-old brother Adesh Kumar, who works in a private firm, flung himself before the excavator and kept screaming that he would not move unless his sister was pulled out. The neighbours had a tough time pacifying Adesh, who believes his sister is alive and it is possible to pull her out.
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