15 miners trapped in coal pit in Meghalaya

Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are in Meghalaya to rescue 15 miners trapped in a coal pit in South Garo Hills since July 6, an official said.

The 31-member NDRF team is from Guwahati, District Magistrate R.P. Marak told IANS.The miners got trapped after they accidentally punctured the wall of an  abandoned mine, filling their own mine with gallons of water.

"The chances of survival of the miners are very bleak. We are pumping the water out of the coal pit but the water level has not receded," Marak said.

"Had the mine owner came informed us about the tragedy in time, the government would have acted in time," he added.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Police have arrested the Punjab-based mine operator Gurdeep Singh on charges of negligence.

"We have registered a case under section 304 (a) of the Indian Penal Code," said Davis R. Marak, the district police chief of South Garo Hills.

Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known "rat hole mining".

Due to this, the water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.

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