BENGALURU: It seems as if even data gathering needs to be propelled by a death or two. The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department (RDPR) does not have any data about the number of borewells, functioning or defunct, in the state.
Following two incidents in Bagalkot alone in 2014, when two children fell into borewells, RDPR had sought information about number of defunct borewells in the state and had ordered their closure in a month’s time.
RDPR Minister H K Patil had said that from August 6 to September 5, 2014, they had closed 1,41,760 borewells, both private and government owned, deemed to be unsafe.
Since then, however, no effort has been made to update the information. As a result, they are only now starting the exercise, following the death of six-year-old Kaveri in Athani taluk, after falling into an open borewell. Officials have now been asked to conduct surveys at regular intervals to keep a tab on defunct borewells.
Patil said a circular would be issued fixing responsibility for the open borewells right from the owner to the borewell drillers and supervisors. “Whoever is drilling the borewell would have mention if they have any defunct borewells and they are sufficiently covered. Then they would have to show pictures to the gram panchayat and only then can they seek permission to dig new borewells,” he said.
Efforts will be made, he said to pursue legal action against those who flout these rules. Patil also said they would be encouraging people to report to the local panchayat development officer (PDO) or officials from the Revenue and Agriculture Departments, if they saw defunct borewells which have not been adequately covered.