Coal India to start rescue ops in Meghalaya coal mine

Coal India Limited (CIL) on Thursday said it is preparing to launch a rescue operation at the coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills to rescue the 15 trapped miners.

The miners have been trapped in the mine since December 13 after it got flooded.

General Manager of CIL’s Northeastern Coalfields, J. Borah said the operation will be launched soon after all the equipment and manpower arrives at the site.

“We have received a request from the Meghalaya government to help carry out search and rescue operations in the coal mine where some miners were trapped. Immediately we have mobilised the manpower within the organisation so as to reach the site as soon as possible,” said Borah, who will arrive at the site on Thursday along with two other top officials of CIL.

He said a 10-member team, including four engineers and six surveyors, is arriving at the spot on Thursday. However, the equipment including pumps, pipes and survey tools will take some time to arrive as those are being sent by road from different CIL establishments.

The National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Rescue Force (SDRF) and the district administration have been trying to rescue the trapped miners but to no avail as the water level in the mine remained very high despite pumps being used to flush out the water.

Mining expert Jaswant Singh Gill had also visited the mine recently at the request of the Meghalaya government and suggested plugging the water entry points to the mine and using powerful pumps to drain out the water from the rat hole mine.

On Wednesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modiover the incident.

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 is doing its best to rescue the miners, criticism poured in from different sections for the failure of the government to rescue the trapped miners.

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