CHANDIGARH: In a bid to step up its efforts to curb borewell deaths, the Punjab government has proposed a criminal action against any person who does not plug open borewells. Setting a month-long deadline to cover up these 'deathtraps', the state government has mandated a penalty and a case under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the owner of the land where any borewell-related mishap takes place.
Targeting prompt closure of all the abandoned unplugged borewells across the state, a letter has been issued to all the Deputy Commissioners in this regard. which further states that after a month, Mission Tandrust Punjab will reward anyone with Rs 5000 who gives verified information about abandoned and open borewell.
Furthermore, the Punjab Water Resources and Development Corporation (Tubewell Corporation) and Punjab Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Department should ensure that abandoned borewells that fall under the department are plugged within a period of one month.
It has also been stated to rope in various field departments to undertake immediate measures to fill and plug the abandoned borewells in Punjab, said KS Pannu, Mission Director Tandrust Punjab Mission.
He said that the abandoned borewells in the state are a cause of concern, for the safety of human beings especially that of children, as well a source of contamination of ground water.
The Commissioners have been suggested to initiate a publicity campaign to make farmers aware of the dangers of unplugged borewells in the fields owned by them. The announcements on the public address system should be made to this effect. The Department of Agriculture should hold meetings at the field level to identify such borewells and motivate the farmers to plug them.
Since almost all farmers who have abandoned such borewells to get a power connection for alternative borewells, therefore, PSPCL officials must ensure that all the abandoned borewells are plugged. Besides, the Gram Panchayats should pass a resolution after properly verifying from all the members of Gram Panchayats to the effect that there is no abandoned borewell in the revenue estate (Mauja) of the village.
The Panchayat Secretary of the village may also contact all the Nambardars of the village to verify the number of abandoned borewells in the village.
Further, the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and the concerned Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) should jointly tour the area and convey to the public about the seriousness of the issue and closing of all such borewells that fall under their jurisdiction.
The Executive Officer, Commissioner of Municipal Bodies should interact with all the councillors and suggest them to further interact with people in their respective areas.
A compliance report has been sought in this respect by the Mission Directorate within one month.