Hubballi: Six-year-old Kaveri, who fell into a borewell in Junjarwad village of Belagavi district on Saturday evening, was pulled out dead after a rescue operation which lasted for more than 54 hours.
The girl was stuck at a depth of 24 feet in the borewell and efforts to reach her were hampered by rocks.
The foul smell emanating from the borewell since Monday evening had led to doubts about her surviving the mishap.
All through the rescue exercise, oxygen was supplied to the girl through a tube under the supervision of health department officials.
The staff of National Disaster Relief Force from Pune, Hatti Gold Mines and the fire brigade worked round-the-clock in the rescue operation. The family members of the girl have appealed to the government to ensure refilling of all defunct borewells and create awareness to prevent such tragedies.
Meanwhile, the Belagavi district administration has decided to file a criminal case against Shankrappa Hipparagi the owner of the farm land for his failure to refill the defunct borewell. He fled the village after the tragedy occurred.
Even as Kaveri battled for her life, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy for her parents, twenty-eight-year-old Dalit farm labourer Ajit Madar and wife Savita, who are daily wagers struggling to make both ends meet.
It was during their search for firewood that Kaveri fell into the borewell while playing in the barren farmland.
The couple and their children live in a thatched hut built at the rehabilitation centre on the outskirts of Junjarwad village which was partially submerged in the backwaters of Almatti dam under Upper Krishna Project nearly two decades ago. They get `150 per day for working in the sugarcane fields and had nurtured the dream of providing good education to their two daughters and son despite chronic poverty. They want to get Kaveri admitted to first standard next month in the government primary school in the village but an air of uncertainty now prevails with the condition of the girl still unknown.
“My wife had gone to the adjacent farm land in search of firewood to prepare meals as we cannot afford an LPG connection. Ensuring two square meals a day is a challenging task as the drought has rendered us jobless. Still, we had never allowed poverty to come in the way of providing education and food to our three children,” said her father Ajit Madar.
People of Junjarwad and surrounding villages had thronged the site to witness the rescue operation.
The incident sent shock waves in the region with many of them offering prayers in temples for the well-being of the child.