No trace of 13 trapped Meghalaya miners

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/16/2018 11:48:22 AM IST

 Shillong, Dec 16 (Agencies): Rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and local police on Sunday continued their efforts to locate the 13 miners who were trapped on Thursday while working in an illegal coal mine in Ksan village of Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, Hindustan Times reported.

According to police and the district administration, so far only 3 helmets have been found.

“We are working overtime, the NDRF has brought in loads of equipment and together we are sparing no efforts but unfortunately we are yet to locate any bodies so far,” East Jaintia Hills superintendent of police, Silvester Nongtyngnger told Hindustan Times over phone.

Despite a four-year-old ban on mining by the National Green Tribunal, mining activity was underway at the site located in Ksan village near Lytein River in the district. On Thursday, the mine collapsed, trapping the 13 people.

Revealing that the mine was extremely deep at 370 feet, he said, “It is in fact below the water level of the adjacent Lytein River, so you can well imagine the challenges we are facing to drain out the water.”

Expressing incredulity that coal mine owner Jrin Chullet a.k.a. Krip Chullet, who has since been arrested, had the audacity to take such a risk, Nongtyngnger said, “Imagine going down so deep and risking your workers’ lives and that too to carry out an illegal activity…. He and anyone else involved will not be spared, I assure you.”

Asked if Chullet was related to Nidamon Chullet, the mastermind of the November 8 near fatal attack on social activists Agnes Kharshiing and Amita Sangma of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) who had visited the area to document illegal coal mining, he said they may be of the same clan but whether they are related is yet to be ascertained. “Investigation is underway and we will leave no stone unturned, don’t worry,” he said.

According to a senior police official, the site of mishap is over 20 kilometres away from the place where the two activists were attacked.

NDRF for deployment of submersible water pumps in coal pit rescue

The rescue operation for the 13 miners trapped inside a coal pit in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district seems to have hit a dead-end on Saturday evening.

According to Northeast Now, even the sonar system and underwater camera failed to detect the trapped miners inside the 370 feet coal pit filled with water since Thursday morning.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team blamed it on poor visibility inside the coal pit.

Even the water level at the pit did not recede much despite continuous pumping.

Meanwhile, the NDRF team engaged in the rescue operation has suggested to the district administration of East Jaintia Hills to call in the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to deploy ‘submersible water pumps’ to reduce the water level.

Earlier, Meghalaya Police had arrested Jrin alias Krip Chulet, the owner of the coal mine from Narwan village on Friday night.

Among the 13 labourers who got trapped inside the coal mine pit near Ksan area of East Jaintia Hills, few are from Shillong, while majority of them were either from Meghalaya’s Garo Hills and Assam.

Although the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned the coal mining in April, 2014 due to environmental ground, rat hole mining are being done illegally by some local mine and land owners.

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