Meghalaya: At least 13 feared dead inside illegal 'rat-hole' mine
In an unfortunate incident, at least 13 coal miners are feared dead, after they got trapped in an illegal 'rat hole' coalmine in Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills. The incident got reported to district authorities on Thursday morning, and rescue operations are on. At the time of writing, there had been no word about whether the miners were alive. Here's more.
According to NorthEast Now, the laborers have been identified as Omor Ali, Mezamur Islam, Mominul Islam, Shirapat Ali, Mozid Sk, Raziul Islam, Amir Hussain, Munirul Islam, Saiar Islam, Samsul Haque, Chal Dkhar, Iong Dkhar, and Nilam Dkhar.
The mine in question is located in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, near the Lytein river in Ksan village. Reportedly, the miners had started work on the illegal mine around three days ago. Then, on Thursday, while the miners were digging, overflowing water flooded the insides of the mines and it collapsed, trapping them inside.
"According to information received, 13 people were trapped inside an illegal coal mine at Ksan village under the jurisdiction of Saipung police station," said Superintendent of Police Sylvester Nongtynger. "We are doing our best to reach out to them," he added.
When news of the incident reached the authorities, emergency teams were rushed to the spot. According to the last report from the ground, water was being pumped out to try and reach the trapped miners. However, owing to the flooding of the mines, it's feared that the miners could be dead. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to identify those responsible for the mine's operation.
As unfortunate as it is, this isn't the first incident of this nature. In 2012, at least 15 people got trapped inside a similar 'rat hole' mine in the South Garo Hills, and their bodies were never found. Subsequently, in 2014, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned such mines owing to their unscientific nature, and risks involved. Evidently, the ban wasn't strictly enforced.