" In the light of these tragic incidents, we have directed the authorities concerned to take preventive steps to ensure children do not fall into open borewells and dry or abandoned borewells are immediately capped and sealed, George said."
Bangalore, Aug 4 - The state government Monday announced strict guidelines for drilling and maintaining borewells while a six-year-old boy continued to battle for life after falling into a borewell Sunday in a village in northen Karnataka.

We have issued strict norms for drilling, operating and maintaining borewells across the state by all stakeholders, including farmers, owners, groups, firms and local bodies, state Home Minister K.J. George told reporters here.

According to the guidelines, firms have to take permission of the local authorities to drill a borewell in a farm land, commercial or residential sites and identified areas. Local bodies should keep a record of borewells. Private borewell owners will be responsible for maintenance and safety of their borewells.

Strict action will be taken against offenders and officials of local bodies if dry or unused borewells of 6-9 inches diameter are found open in their jurisdiction, George asserted.

The state rural development and panchayat raj department drafted the guidelines in July following the death of a four-year-old girl named Akshata after she accidentally fell June 17 in an abandoned borewell at Dyaberi village in Bijapur district, about 530 km from here. However, these were not enforced due to procedural delays.

In the latest incident, the six-year-old Thimanna fell into an abandoned borewell in his father Hanumatha Hatti's sugarcane field at Sulikeri in Badami taluk, about 550 km northwest of Bangalore, Sunday afternoon while playing with his friends.

In the light of these tragic incidents, we have directed the authorities concerned to take preventive steps to ensure children do not fall into open borewells and dry or abandoned borewells are immediately capped and sealed, George said.

The department has set up a team of engineers to survey the number of open borewells unofficially estimated to be around 3,400 across the state.


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