Meghalaya Illegal Mining: After 35 Days, 1 Of The 15 Trapped Miners Found Dead
Almost after 35 days of the tragic Meghalaya mining incident in which 15 miners got trapped in a rat-hole coal mine, on January 17, Thursday, the Indian Navy recovered a body from the illegal mine. The navy has detected the body of the victim by using a special underwater camera. The whereabouts of rest of the 14 more miners are yet to be ascertained. Search operations are still going on.
“One body detected by Indian Navy Divers using Underwater ROV at a depth of approx 60 feet and 210 feet inside a rat-hole mine,” tweeted the Indian Navy spokesperson.
#MeghalayaMineTragedy #Flash One body detected by Indian Navy Divers using Underwater ROV at a depth of approx 60 feet and 210 feet inside a rat-hole mine @SpokespersonMoD @DefenceMinIndia @nsitharaman @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/sP1sv6ikRn
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 17, 2019
According to The Quint, the Navy added that the body has been pulled to the mouth of the mine and it shall be extracted out of the mine under a doctor’s supervision.
The Meghalaya cabinet discussed the issue
On January 16, Wednesday, the Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, who also handles the mining and geology department, and Home Minister James Sangma informed the cabinet about the latest developments in the rescue operations in the coal mines at Ksan village in State’s East Jaintia Hills district. Sangma said that the rescue operations are underway and would continue for some time.
“Till this moment the experts are still on the job. Until and unless we get their views, we cannot say anything. Once that is done, then we will accordingly file (an) affidavit in the Supreme Court,” said the minister.
#WATCH: Search operations underway in a mine at Ksan near Lyteiñ River in East Jaintia Hills for miners who are trapped since December 13. Today morning one body was recovered. (Visuals of Navy's underwater remotely operated vehicle) #Meghalaya. pic.twitter.com/gg1NwtjFOY
— ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2019
SC on the mining issue
On January 15, Tuesday the Supreme Court pulled up the Meghalaya government over the illegal mining issue in the state. While talking about the 15 miners who are trapped in the coal mine the court said, “If any steps were being taken to stop illegal mining, these incidents would not be happening”, the court observed, reported the LiveMint.
What had happened that day?
In the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, where illegal coal mining has been on the rise, many have lost their lives in the life-gambling occupation. The state which is famous for rat-hole mining (a term used in coal mining because of mine’s hole like size) has numerous unregulated and unmonitored coal mines. Time and again many tragedies have taken place. In one such recent incident, 15 miners are feared dead after an illegal coal mine which they were digging collapsed on them on December 13. The incident happened in the area in which mining was banned by the National Green Tribunal(NGT) four years ago. On December 13, water from nearby Lytein River flooded a network of tunnels in the 370-foot-deep coal mine in Lumthari village of East Jaintia Hills, trapping 15 men and prompting a multiple-agency rescue attempt.
According to The New Indian Express, Multiple agencies such as National Disaster Response Force, Coal India Limited, Kirloskar Brothers Limited, Odisha Fire Service beside the Navy are taking care of the rescue operations. The Supreme Court-monitored rescue operation that has been going on for over a month is aimed at taking out the trapped miners “dead or alive.”
In 2014, the NGT had banned coal mining in the area, however, the effects of the ban seem to be negligible. The state is also infamous for illegal coal mining. It has nearly 640 million tonnes of coal reserves and the local miners dig out at least five million metric tons of coal by hand each year.