Local bodies would have to intensify dissemination of safety measures

A high-level meeting on Wednesday decided that District Collectors and local bodies would have to intensify dissemination of safety measures regarding sinking of borewells.

Held in the backdrop of three recent incidents of children falling into pits dug for borewells, the meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, was learnt to have emphasised the safety measures, as stipulated in a government order issued four years ago in the wake of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the subject.

The local authorities should also ensure that no abandoned borewells are left uncapped and that the rig operators close down such wells.

A survey should be undertaken immediately in each district to identify the uncovered pits and steps be taken for covering them.

Pointing out that the problem of children getting trapped arises only when failed wells are left open and it occurs invariably in the case of private lands, the sources say rig operators should not undertake digging operations unless they get clearances for sinking borewells and see to it that the guidelines are adhered to. If they fail, they can be proceeded against.

One of the important guidelines is that while pits are being dug for borewells, there should be proper fencing.

A cement concrete platform has to be built around the well casing.

The other guideline is that abandoned borewells have to be filled with clay or sand or boulders.

Another suggestion made at the meeting is that personnel belonging to the Fire and Rescue Services have to be provided with adequate drill for handling such rescue operations more effectively.

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