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Another illegal coal mine collapsed in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hill. At least two miners were killed, police officials informed on Monday. For the last 25 days, the rescue team was busy in the operation for the 15 miners trapped in a “rat-hole” coal mine in Meghalaya.

The latest incident took place at Mooknor, Jalyiah village which is about 5 km from the district headquarters. A relative of one of the miners, about 26 years, named Elad Bareh, went to the police to inform that he had been missing from his home since Friday.

Sylvester Nongtnger, a senior police officer said that “A search was conducted and his body was found in front of a ‘rat-hole’ coal mine. When we further checked inside the narrow mine, another body was found. The second man was identified as Monoj Basumatry.” He also added that it is also suspected that boulders hit them when they tried to extract coal. Efforts are on to find the owner of the illegal mine.

Rescue operations to bring out the 15 miners trapped at a mine in Ksan village were held up after some difficulties were found in the high-capacity pumps of Kirloskar Brothers Limited and Coal India Limited, the official said. Meanwhile, the firefighting team from Odisha continued to drain out water from the two nearby coal mines.

For the last seven days, the rescuers have been trying to pump out waters from the 370-foot-deep pit. Water gushed into the mine after at least 15 miners went down the narrow pit on December 13. In early 2014, before Indian court banned the practice, thousands of workers were killed in Meghalaya rat-hole mine.

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