Shillong, Jan 14:
It is exactly a month after 15 miners have been trapped in an illegal rat hole coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. The chances of their rescue continue to remain bleak as dewatering the mine has so far been a futile effort.
Scientists and top notch agencies, known for their work in underground mines of the country, Sunday arrived in the East Jaintia Hills to step up efforts to rescue the miners in what is perhaps the country’s longest rescue mission. Operation spokesperson R Susngi told PTI that a team headed by a scientist and comprising experts from Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (NGIR-CSIR) and Gravity and Magnetic Group, was at the spot. Besides, a team each from the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Chennai-based Remotely Operatated Vehicle (ROV) have arrived to step up the mission, he said. Till date, the dewatering of the 370-foot-deep mine where the miners are trapped has proved futile as over 1 crore litres of water has been pumped out of the main shaft in the past one month, but there has been no visible change in the water level, the offcial said. Another 2 crore plus litres of water was pumped out from the nearby abandoned mines suspected to be connected to the mine where the miners are trapped, but the rescuers are clueless ‘how’ and ‘where’ the water is coming from, he said.
In the Khloo-Ryngksan area, where the ill-fated mine is located at the western side of a small hillock, the Lytein river crisscross the valley for over 2 km.
Experts have been visiting the spot since December 20 for rescuing the miners after the news broke out at the national level, but the huge water level inside has foiled all their efforts.
Susngi said senior scientist of CSIR-NGRI Devashish Kumar and his team have arrived for the operation. Another scientist from the Gravity and Magnetic Group, Niraj Kumar and his team too arrived as have Jayanti Gogoi of GPR and Vineet Upadhyay, who is heading the team of operators of the ROV from Chennai.