Guwahati, December 29, 2018:
Search operations in Meghalaya to locate the fifteen miners who are feared trapped in a flooded illegal coal-mine have entered the third week. Meanwhile, an Indian Air Force aircraft carrying ten high power pumps of 100-horsepower each meant to drain the water landed at Guwahati airport yesterday.
The Odisha government has sent a twenty-member team of Odisha Fire Services personnel in joining rescue operations. Kirloskar Brothers, an Indian heavy equipment firm, has also offered to join the rescue operation. The firm is sending two expert teams and powerful pumps to draw water from the illegal pit. A 15-member diving team of the Navy has flown in from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and reached the mine.
The pumps are expected delivered at the spot in the evening. The high-capacity pumps have been brought from Coal India mines in Asansol (West Bengal) and Dhanbad (Jharkhand).
Rescue operations have entered their eighteenth day but have yielded only three mining helmets. The arrival of the pumps at the site is expected to boost rescue efforts as NDRF personnel were unable to reach the lower depths of the 370-feet deep mine. Rescuers have thus far been using two 25-horsepower mines which are ill-equipped to deal with the heavy flooding in the mine.
It is to be mentioned that both the Meghalaya as well as central governments have come under fire for failing to arrange the high-powered pumps required for the operation earlier. Earlier in the week, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had charged that the Modi government has refused to “organise high-pressure pumps” as demanded by the rescue team for the operation.