More than two weeks after 15 miners got trapped in a flooded coal mine at Ksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, the Odisha fire services department has yet to reach the site.
The team equipped with 10 high-powered pumps to flush out water from the mine reached Guwahati on Friday morning around 11:30 am, but due to lack of transport provided by Meghalaya they had to wait till 5:45 pm to start their 220 km journey, reports The Hindustan Times.
“Initially we were told that we would be travelling by trucks. Then the plan was changed and it was decided that dumpers would be used to shift the equipment to the accident site”, said Sukant Sethi, Chief Fire Officer (Odisha), who is leading the team.
“By the time we reached a primary school (located 25 km from the mine) where we were supposed to spend the night it was 2:00 am on Saturday. There was no person from Meghalaya government’s side who helped us with basic needs,” Sethi said.
“There was no food, blankets or beds for the men to take few hours of rest. We are not used to such cold temperatures in Odisha and had to rush for our mission without carrying enough warm clothes and bedding,” he added.
Despite the problems faced, the team wants to reach the spot soon to help the trapped miners. But the state government was yet to send transport to carry the men and equipment to the site on Saturday morning.
“It’s 8:00 am already on Saturday. We have been told that some vehicles are on the way to the school where we are staying, but they haven’t reached yet. What is more surprising is that there is no Meghalaya government officer who is coordinating with us,” Sethi said.
Apart from the district officials, no senior state government official or minister has visited the site in the past two weeks.
A total of 15 miners—mostly poor labourers from Assam and Meghalaya have been trapped inside the Ksan coal mine East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya since December 13.