The Supreme Court on Thursday reprimanded Meghalaya government over tardy rescue operations for the 15 miners trapped inside a 370-feet rat-hole coal pit in East Jaintia since December 13 last year. Hearing an urgent plea, the top court expressed its dissatisfaction over the rescue efforts. Rebuking the state government, the Supreme Court said that "dead or alive, they (the miners) should be taken out." The top court also questioned the government and asked as to what steps have the authorities taken to rescue the miners.
Meanwhile, divers of Indian Navy and rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Monday reached the bottom of the mine, as per some reports. "Divers of the Indian Navy have entered the main shaft of the coal mine to survey the bottom of the sheet using underwater remotely operated vehicle (UWROV)," R Susgni, spokesperson of the rescue operations, said. The rescue operation, to save 15 miners who have been trapped in a rat-hole mine in Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya East for the last 19 days, was resumed on Monday morning.
Susgni said that they have requested the East Jaintia Hills district authorities to assist in dewatering the 370-feet-coal pit to 30 meters or within the safe diving limit so that the divers can resume diving. Odisha fire services are also dewatering at least three abandoned mines where 15 trapped miners are trapped.
More than 200 rescuers, including 72 NDRF rescuers, 14 members of the Indian Navy, 21 Odisha firefighters, 35 Coal India Limited (CIL) officials along with a team of Meghalaya-owned State Disaster Response Force are deployed to carry out the operations. The miners have been trapped in the mine in the Ksan area of Lumthari village in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district since December 13, after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.
General Manager of Coal India Limited (Northeastern Coalfields) J. Borah said two more pumps will be reaching the site with the auxiliary pipes and other materials which are not available in Jaintia Hills or Shillong. Meanwhile, Congress women workers stage a token protest against the Conrad Sangma-led government for the slow process' in rescuing the trapped miners.