42 days after 15 miners got trapped in the illegal rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, the Indian Navy on Thursday extracted the decomposed remains of one of the 15 miners. The body has been sent for postmortem by the Indian Navy personnel.
His body was detected, one week ago on January 17, at a depth of approx 60 feet and 210 feet inside the mine by the Indian Navy Divers using the Underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle).
After 15 miners got trapped in the illegal rat hole mine at Khlooryngksan area of the district since December 13, multi-agency rescue operation involving the Navy, the NDRF and leading firms in the country started to rescue them in the longest such mission in the country. The state government has been taking the help of various utilities to rescue the trapped miners.
Coal India Ltd, Odhisa Fire Service and the KSP continued dewatering the nearby abandoned mines and the total discharge of water since yesterday was 80.15 lakh litres, spokesperson of the operation R Susngi said.
Family members of the trapped miners have been waiting anxiously for news of their loved ones and are visiting the site regularly and they are regularly updated on the progress, Susngi added.
Earlier in January, the National Green Tribunal had imposed a fine of whopping Rs 100 crore on the Meghalaya government for failing to curb illegal coal mining in the state. Coal mining had been banned in the mineral-rich state of Meghalaya four years ago by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), with fears over the safety of miners being one of the reasons. However, despite the ban, this kind of informal and illegal 'rat-hole' mining remains rampant and lucrative for the local population. 'Rat-hole' mining refers to horizontal tunnels that are dug into hills allowing for miners to reach coal columns. The tunnels are generally only wide enough for one person to fit through at a time.