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Heavy duty pumps fail to reduce water level in Meghalaya mine

Odisha fire and disaster management services will continue the dewatering process

By Andrew W. Lyngdoh in Shillong
  • Published 2.01.19, 12:28 AM
  • Updated 2.01.19, 12:28 AM
  • a min read
Water being pumped out of the mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills. The Telegraph picture

The water level in the coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaiñtia Hills, where 15 miners have been stuck since last year, has remained unchanged since Sunday.

On the first day of the New Year, personnel from Odisha’s fire and disaster management services undertook dewatering from an old coal mine located near the main shaft where the miners have been trapped.

“Pumping of water from the nearby old shaft, located about 500 meters from the main shaft, came to a halt at 5.30pm. After three hours of pumping, the water level in the old shaft descended by six inches,” official spokesperson R. Susngi said from the coal mine site at Ksan under Saipung police station.

Susngi said navy divers and NRDF personnel went down inside the main shaft at 4.30pm to check the water level there and reported that it had not changed.

However, Odisha fire and disaster management services personnel will continue the dewatering process, he added.

The pumps, which were airlifted from Bhubaneswar, can drain out at least 1,600 litres of water per minute.

On Tuesday, an underwater remotely operated vehicle, used by the navy divers, detected some wooden structures, a rat-hole and coal inside the mine at Ksan. However, there were no reports of the vehicle detecting humans.

The mine is more than 320 feet deep, 150 feet of which is submerged. There has been no trace of the miners even after 19 days of search and rescue operations.

The miners reported stuck inside include Omor Ali, Mezamur Islam, Mominul Islam, Amir Hussain, Munirul Islam, Saiar Islam, Shirapat Ali, Mozid Sheikh, Raziul Islam, Md Samsul Haque, Chal Dkhar, Long Dkhar, Nilam Dkhar, Abdul Kalam Sheikh and Assh Bahadur Limbu. Chal, Long and Nilam are from Lumthari village near the Ksan mine, seven miners are from Rajabala in West Garo Hills and five are from Assam.

The district administration had earlier announced an interim relief of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the miners. Personnel from the navy, NDRF, Odisha fire and disaster management services, SDRF, civil defence and Meghalaya police are involved in the search and rescue operations. Officials and personnel of Coal India Limited have also been camping at the site to aide the teams.