Water pumping from Meghalaya mine resumes after 20 days

Water pumping from Meghalaya mine resumes after 20 days

Pumping of water in the flooded coal mine on Saturday. DH photo

Pumping of water from the flooded coal mine in Meghalaya, where 15 people are trapped since December 13, resumed on Saturday.

This comes 20-days after a NDRF team called it off and sought for more powerful pumps.

Official spokesperson R Susngi said Ms Kirlosker Brothers pressed two of their powerful pumps into service in the 350-feet deep coal mine, which is still flooded with 70-feet water.

Meghalya government had sought Kirlosker Brothers' help as it was part of the rescue operation in a flooded cave in Thailand in June last year.

Twelve footballers were rescued from the cave but experts said that rescue operation in Meghalaya is tougher than the one in Thailand.

"Pumping of water by Kirlosker Brothers began at 3.30 pm while Odisha fire service team continued the same in a nearby shaft. The water level in the nearby shaft receded by 1.5 feet and we just hope water level does not increase again tomorrow due to seepage," Susngi said.

At least 15 miners got trapped in the mine in East Jaintia Hills district, where they entered to collect coal by using rat hole mining technique.

The miners dig narrow horizontal holes inside the vertically dug mines and extract coal but many have died following landslides or flooding.

The NDRF team on December 16 had stopped pumping of water from the mine after their two 25 horse power pumps could not reduce water level.

A team of Navy divers, who tried to survey the mine had also sought pumping of the water to avoid decompression sickness. A remote controlled-run under water vehicle also remained clueless about the trapped miners.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who faced much flak, on Friday said that situation on the ground was very tough.

Sangma faced criticism over his government's reported failure to check mining despite a ban on mining by National Green Trinunal (NGT) in 2014.

The tribunal on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore on the state government for failing to enforce its ban order.