Making Every Effort To Rescue Trapped Miners: Meghalaya Govt Tells SC [Read Affidavit]
The government is taking every possible measure to rescue the 15 miners trapped at the 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in Meghalaya, the State of Meghalaya submitted before the Supreme Court on Monday.
The miners have been trapped in the mine in the Ksan area of Lumthari village in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district since December 13, after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.
The status report filed in the court by the State government now said, "…the State Government has made every effort possible with promptitude, having regard to the nature of the urgency and has deployed the requisite man-machinery at the site of the incident as expeditiously as possible. It is further stated that the State Government has liaised with the Central Government at the highest level, and has received the requisite technical support from the Central Government.
The State Government has also received the support from the Indian Navy, and the Orissa Fire Department in order to expedite the rescue operations."
The report highlights problems such as difficult terrain, remote location, lack of proper infrastructure, etc. being faced during rescue operations. It, however, assures the court that despite such obstacles, the State government has ensured that the rescue operation does not get stalled for want of resources such as generators, electricity, shelter for personnel and other logistical hurdles.
The State further informs the court that advance funds have been placed with the Deputy Commissioner for meeting any emergency arising out of natural calamities. At the start of the rescue operations, it says, this fund had an amount of Rs. 30 lakhs. Since then, an additional sum of Rs. 20 lakhs has been directed to be added to it.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by Delhi based Advocate Aditya N. Prasad, demanding engagement of expert/technical teams of the Indian Army, Navy and Airforce in the rescue operations.
The petitioner had claimed that the rescue operation had been suspended due to lack of equipment, especially high horse power water pumps to remove water from the mine shafts. He had further alleged that the Central government has failed to offer assistance to the miners, even though similar assistance had been offered to the government of Thailand when a few boys had been trapped in a cave in the country last year.
The Supreme Court had then, on January 3, told the State government that it was not satisfied with the steps taken so far in the rescue operations.
"We are not satisfied. It is a question of life and death," the bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer had said.
The Centre and the Meghalaya government was thereafter directed to file a status report, after it was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that all possibly steps have been taken and the rescue operation is on.
Read the Affidavit Here