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MP Jothimani Questions Lack of Alternate Rescue Plan For Sujith

She accused officials managing rescue operations of not having clarity in decision-making. 

Published
India
4 min read
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Almost 70 hours since Sujith, a two-year-old boy, got stuck inside a borewell, Karur MP Jothimani slammed the rescue operations for having no alternative options and of giving false hope to people.

She accused officials managing rescue operations of not having clarity in decision-making and has requested the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to intervene.

Jothimani has been at the spot for the last two days, co-ordinating relief work and offering support to Sujith’s family.

Speaking to the press at Nadukattupatti near Manapparai in Tiruchirapalli district on Monday afternoon, Jothimani said that she is scared to go inside the house and console Sujith’s distraught parents.

“Sujith’s mother requested me to save her child on the day I came here. Now each minute of delay in the rescue operation, I feel scared to go into the house and meet them,” she said.

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Adding that there is not much progress in the rescue work since the team is not able to drill through the rocks, Jothimani added that the initial delays in the rescue work was too much.

“All of them have been working with good intention since the beginning. But the delays involved in the beginning has caused huge setback to the child’s life. There have been a lot of delays including the late arrival of the disaster management (NDRF and SDRF) teams,” she pointed out.

Explaining that she had told the ministers in the spot to suspend the attempts to drill through the rocks since the rocks are thick and that would only delay the actual rescue of the child, Jothimani said, “If a machine can drill only 24 feet in 16 hours, then as per their (relief teams’) words, another machine which is thrice as powerful as this one will take another 16 hours to drill 75 feet and then two more hours to drill another 10 feet.

A total time of 18 hours we would need to drill only the length of the borewell. And then comes the horizontal drilling to rescue the child. This horizontal drilling is to be done manually by the fire and rescue services and they are ready to stake their lives and send two of their personnel inside to do it. But it is not possible to drill it.”

Commending the good intention, hard work and the concern of the ministers and officials to assure that the boy is rescued, Jothimani said that the team does not have an alternative plan in place in case the current one fails.

“For example, we are performing an operation. If that operation fails or gets stuck somewhere what is the alternative option? Nobody is able to say that,” she explained.

Justifying the need to speak up at this juncture of the relief operations, Jothimani said that drilling with machines now gives a false hope to the people and hence she is compelled to speak up.

“I am compelled to speak to the people of Karur and the family of the child at this point in time as the MP of Karur. It has started raining also,” she said.

Slamming the lack of clarity in decision-making and the government’s inability to take risks, Jothimani said, “At this juncture, we have crossed the point where officials need to decide. Now it is for the government to decide. We are at a point where we should take a risk. The government is saying that we cannot take risk because people are in an emotional state. But we have to retrieve the child and hand him over alive.”

She also said that the team cannot stay away from taking risks considering the image of the government or of the MP.

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Reaffirming the the team on the ground is working very hard to reach the child and rescue him, Jothimani said that it is painful that the efforts of the team is not bearing results.

“The mother is sitting here, hugging her child’s dress and I am scared to tell her to eat. Because I am a woman, I am able to understand her pain,” she said.

Adding that the situation on the ground is in limbo, due to lack of clarity on who should take decisions, Jothimani said, “Nobody is clear as to who the decision-making authority is here – Is it the ministers? Or the officials? Or the district collector? Yesterday we decided to bring in a borewell operator to dig three borewells near the one in which Sujith has been stuck, but then the operator was sent back and after that the operation is stuck as such.”

Requesting the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to intervene and address the issue at hand, Jothimani said that she was making this request to the Chief Minister as a woman, a citizen of Tamil nadu and as an MP.

Sujith, a two-year-old boy, fell into an abandoned borewell near his house on Friday evening. The boy, who was initially stuck at around 25 feet deep has since slipped to around 80 feet deep in the borewell.

Rescue teams, teams from the state and national disaster relief forces, senior bureaucrats and ministers are at the spot, supervising the rescue work. High powered rigs and borewells have been deployed to drill holes parallel to the one in which Sujith has been stuck and maximum efforts are being made to take Sujith out of the borewell alive.

(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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