Thirty-nine days after five miners were trapped in a flooded coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, the state government has called off the rescue operation due to incessant rainfall.
“The rescue operations have been suspended until further notice,” Deputy Commissioner E Kharmalki said on Thursday.
He said in view of incessant rains the level of the water rose hampering the diving operations in the mine shaft for retrieval of other dead bodies.
Since the suspension of the operation on Tuesday night, rescuers from the Indian Navy, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF0 and the Fire Services have left for their respective places of posting, the official said.
“Considering the onset of the monsoons, the diving teams are required for rescue operations elsewhere in the country,” the deputy commissioner said.
He further informed that the services of the NDRF and SDRF have been de-requisitioned.
The rat-hole mine at Umpleng, about 20 km from Khliehriat, the headquarters of East Jaintia Hills district, was flooded trapping five migrant workers four from Assam and one from Tripura- after a dynamite explosion on May 30.
Six co-workers of the trapped miners escaped the tragedy as they were outside the mine at the time of the incident and they were escorted to their homes. The police had arrested the owner of the coal mine, Shining Langstang, and charged him with violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning unscientific mining and transportation of coal.