The toll in Madhya Pradesh’s Vidisha district rose to 11 on Friday after several villagers had fallen into a well while trying to rescue a boy who was in it already, PTI reported.
The incident took place on Thursday night at Lal Patar village in Ganj Basoda area, about 50 kilometres from the district headquarters. A group of villagers had gathered to watch the rescue of a 10-year-old boy from the well, when the parapet wall collapsed due to their weight.
By Friday night, 19 people were brought out alive from the well, including the boy.
“My son Ravi and his brother Sanjay had gone to fetch water from the well...They were fetching water when Ravi fell into the well around 6 pm,” said Omkar Ahirwar, the father of the 10-year-old, the Hindustan Times reported. “Sanjay cried for help and two villagers jumped into the well to save Ravi.”
Later, a tractor deployed for the rescue operation also skidded into the well with four policemen.
Villagers alleged that rescuers arrived at the spot three hours late. “Two police personnel came to the spot and said they will return after dinner,” Ahirwar added. “They said only the rescue team could help. I again called [helpline number] 181 and asked them why hungry police personnel were sent. At around 9 pm, the rescue team and police force reached the spot.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those who died. “Anguished by the tragedy in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh,” the prime minister’s office said in a tweet. “My condolences to the bereaved families.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the incident was “extremely saddening” and condoled the deaths. “I appeal to Congress colleagues to extend every possible help in rescue efforts,” he tweeted.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the victims and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Bhopal Division Police Commissioner Kavindra Kiyawat said District Collector Pankaj Jain has appointed a senior officer to investigate the incident.