After failure in the recovery of all the bodies of the miners, who were trapped in an illegal coal mine at East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, even after three months, the Supreme Court sought to know from the relatives of miners, whether they want to recover the bodies which are already ‘decomposed’.
On December last year, a total of 15 miners were trapped in an illegal coal mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, about 3.7 km deep inside a forest.
The Indian Navy team which struggled hard to recover the bodies of the trapped miners has already left the mining site after recovery of only two bodies.
The apex court asked the families of the miners while hearing a plea which had sought immediate measures for rescuing the miners who were trapped in the illegal rat-hole mine.
A report published on Wednesday by NDTV stated that a bench of Justices SK Kaul and SA Bobde told the petitioner to ask the family members of the miners trapped in the coal mine as to whether they want recovery of the bodies.
The report quoted the order where the bench of the apex court said: “The petitioner is directed to ascertain from the relatives of the deceased if they wish to have the bodies recovered having regard to the fact that they may be already in a completely decomposed condition.”
As per the report, the Supreme Court also ordered Dr Sudhir Kumar, a hydrologist at Roorkee’s National Institute of Hydrologist, to visit the mine site and after re-appraisal, submit a report.
Dr Kumar has been asked to point out in the report where the pumping of water being in the mine for de-watering is adequate.
The report also quoted the bench of the top court as saying: “The hydrologist may also suggest what needs to be done in the future for recovering the bodies.”
The bench stated that the matter will be heard again in the first week of April.
The top court last month had said that high-powered pumps of Kirloskar company be airlifted and installed with immediate effect for de-watering of the mine so that the operation to recover the bodies of the miners can be done smoothly.
The Supreme Court also issued a show-cause notice to the owner of the illegal mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills saying that it would consider granting compensation to the family members of the victims as prime facie responsibility and liability of the tragic incident is of the mine owner.
Earlier, the State government of Meghalaya had told the apex court that in between February 8 and February 16 , 11 crore litres of water were pumped out from the mine. However, water was getting replenished from the nearby river due to the topography of the area.