India News

Rescue ops for Meghalaya miners makes little headway

Shillong, Jan 14: The Navy spent the whole of Monday to retrieve their unmanned vehicle which had got stuck during underwater searches for the 15 miners who have been trapped in an illegal mine here for over a month.

The Navy’s efforts bore fruits and before calling an end to the operation Monday, they managed to reclaim the unmanned vehicle from inside the 370 foot-deep coal mine in Meghalayas East Jaintia Hills district, officials said.

During the day, a team from a Chennai-based company that specialises in submersible robotic inspections launched their underwater search operations in the nearby abandoned mines using their smaller robotic vehicles, Operations Spokesperson R Susngi told PTI.

They have been tasked with preparing map of these rat-hole mines and see if there was any traces of the trapped diggers, the spokesperson said.

He said senior scientist from Hyderabad-based CSIR-NGRI Dewashish Kumar has also begun electric topography survey in the area to identify the rock strata besides other important information.

The efforts to de-water the main shaft, where the miners are trapped, were affected on Monday due to the Navy’s efforts to retrieve their unmanned vehicle which got stuck on Sunday night.

Susngi said due to this operation the team from Kirloskar Brothers Ltd (KBL) could not operate their high-powered pumps and the de-watering process was affected.

The KBL team uses two high-powered pumps to de-water the main shaft while Coal India Ltd (CIL) has brought eight of their submersible pumps to the site, according to Susngi.

However, only two of the CIL pumps are being put to use to de-water the nearby abandoned mines downstream, close to the main shaft, he said.

Six pumps from Odisha Fire Service (OFS) are being used as relays to take the water pumped out by CIL further downstream, he added.

Even as the multi-agency operations stepped up their efforts, the water level at the ill-fated mine has remained constant, Susngi said.


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