Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction on Meghalaya coal mine mishap and ask the state govt to hey should be taken out, dead or alive.
The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its dissatisfaction with the rescue efforts to trace the 15 Meghalaya miners who have been trapped for 22 days. “We pray to God that all are alive,” the top court said on a petition that wanted the government to be ordered to scale up the rescue efforts in a flooded illegal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills.
For people trapped in the Meghalaya mine, the judges said, “every minute counts” and they should be brought out. “No matter whether they are all dead, not dead or all alive, they should be taken out,” the court said.
The judges also asked why the government hadn’t ordered the army to join the rescue operation which, for days, was stuck in bureaucratic red tape. The court also asked the petition to call the centre’s law officer so that the court could issue some interim directions to step up the operation.
The Meghalaya government had earlier told the court that the state was taking steps and deployed personnel from the National Disaster Relief Force, Navy and Coal India since Dec 14.
“Then, why are they not successful?” the court shot back, according to news agency ANI.
The court also made it clear it wasn’t satisfied. “It is a question of life and death,” the bench said.
The miners had gone down the so-called “rat-hole” mines when water gushed into Ksan mine from a nearby river in Meghalaya. The government had deployed national and state rescue workers but over the last week, there has been mounting criticism of the scale of operations. Eventually, the Air Force was roped in to fly in high-power pumps from Odisha and deploy Naval personnel.
But families of the trapped miners say it may already been too late. “We have lost all hope to see him alive again
“Rat hole” mining involves digging into the side of hills and then burrowing tunnels up to five feet (1.5 metres) high to reach a coal seam.
Authorities have been struggling to pump out water from the 380-foot (115-metre) deep mine so that divers can approach the area where the men are believed to be. Navy divers entered the mine on Sunday but failed to trace anything.