In a joint operation, teams from National Disaster Relief Force, nearby Hutti gold mines and fire brigade struggled to rescue Thimmanna Hatti, reportedly stuck at a depth of 160 feet in the 300 feet borewell. Attempts to pull out the boy using a robot yielded no result as it hit a rock at a depth of about 140 feet, police and district officials present at the site said.
In parallel, a pit-cum-tunnel in L shape is being dug to gain access to Thimmanna who fell into the borewell yesterday in his father's sugarcane field while he was with his cousin. Deputy Commissioner PA Meghannanavar said the robot attempt had failed and it would take about five days to dig the pit and tunnel to reach the boy, who was being supplied oxygen to keep him alive.
As hundreds of people from the neighbouring areas gathered at Sulikere inhabited by about 2,500 people, police had to resort to mild laticharge to keep them in control as their movement impeded the rescue operations at times.
IGP (Belgaum Range) Bhaskar Rao said he has directed booking cases against the Gram Panchayat Project Development Officer and Assistant Executive Engineer on charge of negligence leading to the incident. He said instructions had been issued to all police stations in the range to get affidavits filed by Gram Panchayats after survey that there are no open borewells.
District-in-charge minister SR Patil and senior officials of district administration and police are camping at the site overseeing the operation which continued overnight.
In Bangalore, Home Minister KJ George told reporters that strict action will be taken against borewell owners, borewell companies and concerned Gram Panchayat officials who do not take steps to close open borewells. George said all efforts were on to rescue the boy.
The incident comes even as the government had only recently issued guidelines for taking measures to prevent cases of children falling into open borewells.
According to the guidelines issued by the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department, July 15 was the deadline for closing open borewells. Government has now set August 30 as the new deadline to submit reports on action taken to close open borewells.
This is the second incident after the one on June 17, when a four-year-old girl fell into an open borewell at Nagathana village near neighbouring Bijapur and was found dead after a 50-hour-long rescue operation.