Two weeks have past since the mine tragedy happened in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya , there is no headway regarding rescue of the 15 trapped miners even as state owned Coal India Limited (CIL) is planning to launch a major rescue operation.
A total of 15 miners—mostly poor labourers from Assam and Meghalaya—have reportedly been trapped inside the Ksan coal mine East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya since December 13. Although the SDRF, NDRF and local authorities have been trying hard to rescue the miners, it is yet to make any headway due to high water level in the mine.
“We have started mobilizing our manpower and equipment to the site in Ksan. While a ten-member team of engineers and surveyors are likely to reach the site today, we are also moving the equipment like pumps, pipes and survey tools to the site soon,” said J. Borah, General manager of the CIL’s Northeastern Coalfields.
He said that the equipment and tools were being sent to the site by road from different CIL establishments across the country.
He said that the CIL had received a request from the Meghalaya government recently seeking help to carry out search and rescue operations in the coal mine.
It may be mentioned here that the National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Rescue Force (SDRF) and the district administration of East Jaintia Hills have been trying to rescue the trapped miners but to no avail as the water level of the mine remained very high despite pumps being used to flush out the waters.
On Wednesday, AICC president Rahul Gandhi had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the mining incident and said on twitter, “15 miners have been struggling for air in a flooded coal mine for two weeks. Meanwhile, PM struts about on Bogibeel Bridge posing for cameras. His government refuses to organise high pressure pumps for the rescue. PM please save the miners.”
Although Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Union Minister of state for Home, Kiren Rijiju replied to Gandhi’s tweet saying that the government in association with the Centre doing best to rescue the miners, criticism poured in from different sections for the failure of the government to rescue the trapped miners for last 14 days.
Different sections in Meghalaya have also referred to the recent cave tragedy in Thailand—where the Indian government as well as private parties sent experts from India to rescue the members of Thai football team who got trapped inside a cave—such an effort, however, is not seen so far in case of the mining tragedy in Meghalaya.