Supreme court responds to an appeal seeking immediate necessary steps to rescue 15 miners shut in an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya since 13th December. The mine is located in East Jaintia Hills district, located on top of a small hill fully covered with trees.
Rat-hole mining is basically digging of narrow tunnels, very often three-four feet high, in which the miners enter and it is difficult to take out coal.
The horizontal tunnels are often called “rat holes” because every tunnel fits just about one person. The miners were working in the tunnel when suddenly it got flooded when water from a nearby Lytein river runs into and trapped the miners.
It was requested to a bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul to immediately listing the matter urgent. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was formed by other authorities for rescue operations in mining. Aditya N Prasad filed the PIL which found a direction to the center.
On a report, media had quoted that the trapped miners were supposed to be dead because of a foul odor coming out which the force’s divers had encountered when they went inside the mine. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has denied the reports on Thursday.
It is also said that the bad smell may be because of the stagnant water in the mine as the termination of pumping for more than 48 hours. According to a minor of the accident, it is impossible for the minors to come out alive.
Some of the family members have given up the hope of getting back their loved ones but they have requested the government at least to recover their bodies for last rituals.