The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) Department has written to the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras and the Anna University seeking their expertise to develop technology for rescuing children who accidentally fall into borewells.

“Besides suggesting an in-depth research, we have asked the institutions to explore the possibility of improving upon the technologies developed by some private persons in Madurai and Coimbatore. As of now, there is no standard equipment to carry out such rescue operations,” Director of TNFRS and Additional-Director General of Police R.C. Kudawla told The Hindu on Tuesday.

A State-wide exercise to ensure safety of abandoned borewells and fixing responsibility on the supervising authorities and land-owners would be an effective mechanism to avert incidents of children falling into borewells. Rescuers engaged in digging a parallel hole to get to the bottom often encountered problems with rocky terrain or loose soil, both of which were dangerous for the victims, he said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath has convened a meeting of top officials at the Secretariat on Wednesday to devise strategies for curbing incidents of children falling into borewells. The meeting is expected to chalk out ways and means to ensure safety of abandoned borewells, police sources said and added that the State witnessed at least half-a-dozen such tragedies in recent months in which five lives were lost.

Meanwhile, Manikandan of TVS Community College in Madurai who developed a ‘Borewell Robot’ that helped in rescuing a boy who fell into a tubewell in Tirunelveli district on Monday said he would encourage any institution or individual to develop his concept.

“The robotic arms in my model can reach a depth of upto1000 feet to pull out children stuck in borewells. I have no plans to get patent for this technology…the objective is to save lives and I will only be happy if someone improves on my formula,” he said.