The Punjab government, through the Tandrust Punjab Mission, has announced a reward of Rs 5,000 for anyone who reports abandoned and uncovered borewells across the state.
The move comes days after Fatehveer Singh, a two-year-old boy died after he was stuck inside a borewell for nearly 110 hours. The boy, who fell almost 125 feet inside the borewell, had died around two days before his body was pulled out.
A post mortem report suggested the boy died due to hypoxia inside the borewell. Hypoxia is deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues.
Targeting prompt closure of all the borewells across the state, a letter has been issued to all the Deputy Commissioners under Tandrust Punjab Mission to rope in various field departments to undertake immediate measures to fill and plug the abandoned borewells in Punjab, according to KS Pannu, Mission Director Tandrust Punjab Mission.
Criminal action will be taken against any person who does not plug uncovered borewells within a period of a month. Any mishaps which would take place over negligence in covering borewells would result in action against the land owner under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Advertisements asking for information on abandoned borewells as well as publicity campaigns to make farmers aware about the dangers of unplugged borewells will be undertaken under the government’s Tandrust Punjab Mission.
The Tandrust Punjab Mission will also seek to spread awareness about the dangers unplugged borewells pose to humans, especially children and also how such borewells are a source of contamination of ground water.
About 45 open borewells across Punjab have already been sealed, after an order from Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. 26 of the borewells were located in Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib district while 13 each were found in Bassi Pathana and Khera.
Another eight were closed in Mansa district, three each in Patiala and Kapurthala, two in Gurdaspur district and one each in Ropar and Hoshiarpur districts. In Ropar, where 19 borewells are reported to be lying open, one has been covered and the process to close the rest is on.