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January 8, 2019

Water levels in Meghalaya mine haven’t gone down since Dec 13: Centre to SC

Water levels in the shaft where miners have been trapped in Meghalaya since December 13 have not shown any signs of receding despite continuous pumping with heavy duty pumps, Supreme Court was told by both Centre and Meghalaya on Monday.

Status reports were placed before a bench led by justice AK Sikri during the hearing of a petition filed by advocate Aditya N Prasad who claimed authorities acted belatedly in launching rescue operations at the site.

The Centre said 71 NDRF personnel, 20 State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, 16 personnel from the Navy, besides those from Odisha Fire Service, Coal India and officials of Kirloskar Motors were engaged in the rescue efforts.

The vertical shafts of the mine were scanned using remotely operated vehicles on December 31, the Centre’s status report stated. However, no entrapped bodies were found there. One horizontal shaft with diameter of 2-3 feet was also identified but “diving in this shaft can only be undertaken after reduction of water level,” it said.

Meghalya government too explained the difficulties it has faced so far.

“There is complete lack of availability of electricity in nearby areas and high tension electricity is about 5km from the site of occurrence,” stated the Meghalaya report.

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