India: The Hole Truth!

India is a country that is literally littered with gaping unmanned holes—you may call these as bore well or tube well, manholes, pits, shafts or whatever. These are found anywhere—streets, playgrounds or even residential areas in both urban and rural regions. Playful small children are the most vulnerable. They fall into the holes and die or get miraculously rescued sometimes.

The regularity of such incidents being ominously certain it is not known how many of these go unreported. The Indian media showed its tremendous interest only in 2006 when Prince, a small boy of five years, fell into a 60 feet deep open bore well in the northern state of Haryana. For 48 hours the rescue operation aided by army men went live across the country. There was palpable agitation and tension in almost every house in India as people sat glued to the television sets praying for Prince. The boy was finally taken out alive and there were celebrations all around.  Prince became a national hero.

Unfortunately, even after becoming a hero the Prince case did not inspire anybody to try prevent such cases in future or try managing the unattended holes. No lessons learned from the death-defying trauma of a small boy for 48 hours deep inside the earth with only pitch darkness for company. In 2008 another small boy called Suraj died after falling into an unguarded bore well shaft in the north-western state of Rajasthan. Later in the same year a two-year-old boy named Sonu fell into a 150 feet deep bore well pit in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. He was brought out dead after four days of rescue operation. The tragedy moved even the then President of India, Pratibha Patil, who issued advisory to all ministries and departments to take preventive action. 

 The incidents continued though. In the central state of Madhya Pradesh two-year-old girl Lalli fell into a bore well and was luckily rescued after five hours. The most recent case getting hysteric national attention was that of Mahi, a four year old girl from Haryana again, who fell into a 70 feet deep bore well just outside her home when running around merrily in the evening of 21st June, 2012. Local authorities responded late and precious hours were lost. The army men started digging a parallel shaft to reach the trapped girl and the rescue operations continued for 86 painful hours. When they finally reached Mahi she was dead. In fact, she died within six hours of falling due to lack of oxygen.

After all the agonized appeals and promises one more tragedy struck Haryana one more time. A boy of five years fell into a manhole yesterday and died submerged in toxic sewer. The gapingly monstrous traps continue to lurk all around and the kids continue to live dangerously in wonderful India. If one tries to think about the experience of a little kid down there in the dark helpless and alone, one can hardly avoid horrifyingly unreal chills going down the spine.

Astounding how a country 'manned' by over a billion could get to have so many unmanned holes!


Anonymous said…
OMG! Nobody's doing anything? Even after the media coverage? I feel bad for the kids.
filman santiago said…
That was horrifying. I hope the Indian gov't will seriously put an end to this serious issue.
kath said…
that's so scary! hope something will be done to prevent those accidents..
Vera said…
This is very sad indeed, and I hope that it gets the attention and action needed very soon.

In the Philippines, we had a similar problem in the past. Here though, it was open manholes. The covers had been removed, stolen and sold. It's a hazard for pedestrians, specially when the streets get flooded - and our roads get flooded a lot!
Unknown said…
This is terrible. Why is the government allowing these conditions to continue? Protecting life should be a priority!
I'm honestly curious where do those holes come from and why so many?

When I was 11, this happened to our school. My friend's cousin fell on a septic tank because there wasn't any indication anywhere that there was a hole there. They searched until the next day but he had already died. It was honestly quite horrifying. Even today I get goosebumps.

I hope at least the neighborhood would do about it. Like put up signs or a makeshift circle barricade. It can just be spare wood or tree branch really. Similar to the ones used to guard & support growing trees.

Is there no place to get a lot of soil/sand? Can't they gather soil from their backyard and stuff the hole slowly? At least so it wouldn't be so deep?
bonz said…
how come until now they're not doing anything?!?! that is so horrible and kids are always the victim.
how many kids are still going to fall before the government will do something about it???
Marco Polo Demo said…
What have they done after those tragedies? At least it should caught their attention for having holes like that and worst endangering the live s of children.