As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers

As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers

  • India witnessed dreadful incidents in the last 10 years with most of them repeating the same story — a toddler was playing near an open borewell unaware of the death trap in front of him.
  • Last Friday, Sujith Wilson fell into an unused farm borewell while playing near his house in Nadukattupatt, Tamil Nadu.
  • Since 2009, more than 40 children fell into the bore well. On an average 70% of the conventional child rescue operations fail,” said NDRF.

India is grieving over the death of a three-year-old who was stuck 88 feet underground in a borewell for over 72 hours.

Last Friday, Sujith Wilson fell into an unused farm borewell while playing near his house in Nadukattupatt, Tamil Nadu. Various central and state agencies were called in to rescue him. Initially, he was stuck at a depth of about 30 feet but subsequently slipped further down, and the body was finally pulled out from a depth of 88 feet, official said.

For 80 hours, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) worked to pull the toddler out of borewell without success.

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As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers

On Tuesday morning, rescuers finally pulled out the decomposed and mangled body of the 3-year-old from deep inside an unused borewell.

India witnessed dreadful incidents in the last 10 years with most of them repeating the same story — a toddler was playing near an open borewell unaware of the death trap in front of him.

India has 27 million borewells and a large number of them are are running out of water because of low rainfall, drought and underground water depletion. These borewells become well of deaths when they are not sealed properly after they run out of water.
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“Reports say that since 2009, more than 40 children fell into the bore well. On an average 70% of the conventional child rescue operations fail,” said NDRF.

There are many who witnessed the same fate as Sujith Wilson.

Here is a look at more horrific cases

In June 2019, Fatehveer Singh, 2-year-old, succumbed to death after he was stuck in a 150-foot deep abandoned borewell in Sangrur, Punjab for 110 hours.
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As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers


A month before, body of a four year old girl, Seema, was pulled out from a 440-feet deep borewell at a farm in Melana village of Jodhpur. Rescuers carried the operation for 14 hours.

As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers

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Another eight year old girl died after she fell into a 60 year foot borewell. Rescuers had to called off the operation after cracks started developing in homes near the borewell.

As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers


In March, a four year old Roshan fell into a 150-feet deep borewell in Umaria village in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district. He was rescued successfully after a 35-hour long operation.

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As more Indian wells run dry, they’re turning into death traps for innocent toddlers

Some others like Prince — who fell into 50 ft borewell in Kurukshetra in Haryana and survived after a 48-hour long operation — are lucky. But many fell prey to the negligence of the governance system.

All these incidents are reported a decade after the Supreme Court issued guidelines to all the state governments. In 2009, the Apex court ordered governments to fill the dry borewells with clay, sand, boulders, pebbles or drill cutting from the bottom of the well till the ground level.

Further, the authorities were asked to cover the borewell with bolts and nuts. Yet, most of the governments are still to follow them.
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Advocate G.S. ManiI has filed a public interest litigation following Sujith’s death.
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