Meghalaya seeks Navy’s help to locate trapped miners

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HT Bureau

Shillong, June 11: The water level inside an illegal coal mine where five miners remain trapped for the past 12 days in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district has come down to an extent, but that is not enough for the rescuers to start operations inside.

Around 60 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and various state agencies are waiting for the water level to come down to about 10 meters in the 152 metre- deep pit, as that is the maximum level in which they can work.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya government has sought the help of Indian Navy to join the rescue operations to locate the five trapped miners.

“We have written to the ministry of defence to provide us navy divers,” chief minister Conrad K Sangma told reporters.

The chief minister said the government is open to all options to rescue the trapped miners and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that “we do all steps and all measures to try and save lives.”

The rat-hole mine at Umpleng, about 20 km from Khliehriat, the headquarters of East Jaintia Hills district, was flooded after a dynamite explosion on May 30.

East Jaintia Hills district deputy commissioner E Kharmalki said that family members of the trapped miners from Assam visited the accident site and all help was extended to them.

The police have arrested the owner of the coal mine, Shining Langstang, and charged him with violation of the NGT order banning unscientific mining and transportation of coal.

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