Removal of casing pipes from defunct borewells causing accidents

Removal of casing pipes from defunct borewells causing accidents

 Removal of casing pipes after a borewell becoming defunct and abandoning the bore hole structure without filling it, is one of the main reasons for children slipping into them and, in most cases, losing their lives.

Owners of private borewells in rural areas normally take out the casing pipes after the well becomes defunct and sell them. Casing pipe, even if it is old, fetch good sum of money. In most cases, the bore hole structures are not filled up and over the period, it becomes wide enough for children or small animals to fall into it, officials in the State Rural Department and Panchayat Raj (RD&PR) said.

Casing pipes of private borewells, especially those used for irrigation purpose, are normally six to six-and-a-half inch in diameter. The RDPR has made it mandatory that six inch pipes should be used for all government borewells. If the pipe is not removed, chances of children falling into the bore hole is remote, officials pointed out.Even in case of a six-year-old boy, Thimmanna Hanumant Hatti, who fell into an abandoned borewell in his family sugar cane field at Sulikeri village at Badami taluk of Bagalkot district on Sunday, the casing pipe has been removed and bore hole structure abandoned without filling it up. 

Though the Water Resources department (Minor Irrigation) has issued detailed guidelines on June 20 on preventing accidents of small children falling in abandoned borewells, they are not being implemented effectively anywhere in the State.The guidelines, chalked out as per the Supreme Court order dated February, 11, 2010, has made it mandatory for private individuals to obtain permission of the authorities concerned and give an undertaking that safety will be ensured. 

“In case of failed / abandoned borewells it should be completely refilled to avoid caving, collapse thus avoiding further dangers,” the guideline states.The guidelines also stipulated that the drilling agencies should erect barbed wire fencing or any other suitable barrier around the well and they will be held responsible for any casualty due to faulty handling and in addressing lapses. 

“In case of a borewell failing, it has to be capped and maintained, otherwise the entire drilled hole is to be completely filled with soil/mud at least two feet above the ground level from the entire drilled depth of the borewell/ tube well and fix thorny shrubs on it,” it stated.

 Though the Karnataka Groundwater Act, 2011 has made it mandatory for the Member Secretary of the District Ground Water Authority to furnish monthly reports on permissions granted and number of borewells drilled to the respective Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Panchayat, the government does not have authentic information on number of private borewells in the State, officials said.

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