Khaow village, Gurgaon: In the end, the village of Khaow near Gurgaon's Manesar area had nothing to cheer about.
After an Army jawan lifted the body of five-year-old Mahi Upadhyay out of a 70 feet deep borewell that the little girl fell into on Wednesday night, there were few in the crowd of onlookers who felt the girl might be alive.
30 minutes later, doctors at the nearest government hospital pronounced Mahi dead on arrival. Sources at the hospital said the girl probably died just hours after falling into the borewell outside her house, when she was playing with her friends after her birthday celebrations. Mahi had turned five on Wednesday, and her parents had thrown a party at this village, mostly populated by migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar - all of whom work at various construction sites across Gurgaon.
The operation to get Mahi out of the borewell was a complicated one. After the child fell into the borewell on Wednesday night, her parents first alerted the Gurgaon police, who arrived at the spot only to realise that they weren't equipped at all to deal with the situation. Mahi had fallen into a very narrow pit, with no space for anyone else to get in and help the child.
On Thursday, about 200 troops from an Indian Army unit stationed in Gurgaon were called in to help. A highly specialised digger was also called in. The Army took over the entire operations, and started working on two fronts simultaneously. First, a CCTV camera was lowered into the borewell using a rope. Footage from the camera showed a motionless hand stretched out to one side. Doctors thought the child may have fallen unconscious. At this stage, oxygen pipes were also lowered in to the pit to help the child get the required supply of oxygen.
Another team also started digging a new pit, just parallel to the one in which the child had fallen. The idea was to get to the required depth and then to dig horizontally till a passage was created between the two tunnels. Sources in the Army told NDTV that a local person who specialised in digging borewells in the area was also called in to help as he had the best idea about the area and its soil.
By Saturday, the Army came up against a roadblock. Though a pit adjacent to Mahi's pit was dug, Army officers realised that huge rocks were in between the two pits, and a passage could only be created by manually removing the rocks. A team of highly specialised experts were called in from the Delhi Metro, to help with the exact location of the child, so the Army jawans could dig the parallel passage between the two pits in the right direction.
Getting to the child took till Sunday afternoon. By that time Mahi had died. For all the days since Wednesday, the child could not be given any food, or a single drop of water. When Mahi's body was brought out from the pit, an Army jawan was holding her - she was covered in a white sheet. The body was placed in an awaiting ambulance and rushed to the nearest government hospital where doctors declared her dead on arrival.
Story first published:
June 24, 2012 17:59 IST