After 50 hours, hopes dim for child stuck in borewell

October 11th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Oct 11 (IANS) Over 50 hours after two-and-a-half-year-old Sonu fell into a 150 feet deep borewell in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra district, efforts were still on to rescue him even though there was little hope of his survival.There has been no movement or sound from the little boy, who had fallen into the narrow pit in Leharkapura village near Agra while playing at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Ramesh, a villager, said: “It will take supernatural intervention to keep him alive for so long. He is just two and a half years old. How could he survive in that damp and dark hole for so long?”

“The rescue operation is just a formality now to satisfy public sentiments,” another villager added.

“The operation has been delayed because the earth keeps falling off. For the bigger machines, we needed more open space so the land had to be cleared,” an official at the site said.

Excavators and other earth moving machines were deployed to dig a parallel tunnel and army personnel were trying desperately to get to the toddler. Officials said oxygen was being pumped in and that an ambulance had been stationed near the site.

However, Sonu’s mother has alleged that rescue workers were slow and could have “speeded up” operations.

“If they had been serious and speeded up the work perhaps Sonu’s ordeal could have been cut short,” she said Friday.

While Sushil Kumar, superintendent engineer of the local water supply board Jal Nigam has ordered an inquiry, local residents were outraged that the borewell had been left open following a dispute between a contractor and Jal Nigam engineers.

In response to public ire, the administration has suspended two Jal Nigam officials and ordered an inquiry. The contractor Sanjeev Kumar has been blacklisted.

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