BHOPAL: A blame game has begun between residents of Lal Pathar in Ganj Basoda tehsil and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) officials over the human casualties in the Thursday night well tragedy. Eleven villagers had died and many injured after a well caved in at Lal Pathar on Thursday night.
When contacted some SDRF officials termed the well tragedy ‘man-made’ blaming the locals for deploying a JCB machine to break the well. However, villagers held the SDRF team responsible for the high casualty figure saying that the personnel used a poclain machine during the rescue operation. Had the SDRF team pressed divers instead of going for poclain machines, the casualty figure would have been low, the residents said.
Lal Pathar well tragedy was a ‘man-made’ as locals broke the well with JCB machines for speedy draining out water, said the SDRF officers. Their decision went wrong and it led to caving in of the well, they said, adding that it became difficult to ascertain the central point of the well and all this delayed the rescue operation. We installed three motors to siphon off water from the well but the locals pressed JCB machines to break the wall of the well for speedy draining out water and as since it was not concrete well, the entire structure caved in, they added.
Refuting the allegations, Shivraj Singh Dangi, a resident of Lal Pathar, said, “ The locals only dug a parallel pit but as the JCB machines were vibrating a lot, we instantly realized that it may damage the well so we stopped the work. But the SDRF team used a poclain machine thus damaging the entire well.
We dialed helpline 100 immediately after the child fell down and soon after 25-30 people who were trying to save the child also fell into the well. However, only two policemen reached the site and throughout the night, nothing was done to siphon the water from the well, said Dangi.
Rescue operation carried out very carefully: IG
Deepika Suri, IG, Disaster Management (State Disaster Emergency Response Force), said, “We did our level best in the rescue operation at Lal Pathar village. It was quite a challenging task for us to execute a rescue operation as the texture of soil was totally different and the well had caved in; we carefully carried out the entire operation.”
We want to publicize helpline number 1079 in the state so that people, even at village level, can approach us at time of disaster or any other emergency, said the IG, adding that it is always our endeavor to reach the spot at earliest for the rescue operation.