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22 Feb 2020, Edition - 1684, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Tiruchi borewell tragedy: Is it right to blame rural parents?

Covai Post Network

The tragic death of two-year-old Sujith has led to a debate if parents from lower income families are careless about their children.

The tragic death of two-year-old Sujith Wilson after he fell into an unused borewell near his house, at Nadukattupatti village in Manapparai town of Tiruchi district has sparked a social debate of whether parenting flaws led to the mishap.

Are parents from lower income families careless about looking after their children?

Rani, a maid who works in five houses in Salem tells The Covai Post, “Yes, it is quite difficult to look after young children when they are playing particularly during holidays. We will be busy with housework, while our menfolk would have gone to the farms or construction work. Of course, we try to keep track by listening to their sounds as they play. We cannot afford to hire anybody to help us in the house. Most of our housework is done on these holidays.”

She adds that mothers and fathers working in MNREGA schemes often cannot take young children with them to the forest, farm or other construction sites. “We leave them in the care of older children and elderly relatives. We make sure to call up regularly on our cell phones,” she adds.

Dr. Kurinjinathan a Coimbatore-based psychiatrist tells The Covai Post, “It is insensitive to blame Sujith’s parents at this hour. All parents try their best for their children, otherwise how do we see so many rural children studying and becoming professionals.”

The expert said that he was following the incident and understood that Sujith’s mother had no knowledge about the bore well since it was dug before her marriage. “What could she do about that?

It is a great tragedy. However it has perked the government to tighten borewell digging rules, closed unused ones and penalise offenders.”

Su Palanisamy, the president of the Tamil Nadu Vyavasaigal Sangam said, “During late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s rule, she had announced that bore well digging should be banned as it was a major cause of depleting groundwater tables. If at all, bore wells should be dug, they should be shared between consecutive plots and houses just like community shared wells, water tanks and reservoirs.”

After Sujith’s death, closing of bore wells has begun on a war footing throughout Tamil Nadu. The Coimbatore Corporation helpline to report open wells is 9444168000 and toll free land line is 1800-599-6000.

Meanwhile, awareness programmes are being urged on bore wells and parental strategies for daily wage families.

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