Dima Hasao, October 9, 2019:

Rescue operations are still to begin at the pipe blast site after at least four persons, who were feared trapped inside a pump house after a pipeline carrying water to a hydro-power plant burst in Dima Hasao district of Assam, remained untraced.

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Haflong local Daniel Langthasa said that today, a team from the main North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) headquarter were supposed to visit the site to rescue the trapped employees, but it could not be done.

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“Rescue operations have not yet started. The authorities released dam water, but the place where the workers are trapped is 2 floors underground, which makes it difficult for the rescue team”, Langthasa told Inside Northeast.

Langthasa further informed that although the ground level water has subsided, the pipes at the site are still leaking.

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Speaking about the four employees feared trapped at the site, Langthasa said that it is rather unfortunate, but chances of them surviving are slim.

“People are frustrated, especially the families of the people who are trapped. They have alleged that the rescuers, as well as the authorities have been slow. The issue is huge, because the water in Kopili is acidic. That is why the pipes keep rupturing. Plus, the bigger issue lies in how the state of Meghalaya curbs open mining in Meghalaya, which has even spread its tentacles to Assam”, Langthasa opined.

“Constant checks need to be undertaken to ensure that the water is clean, and the NGT ban in Meghalaya is followed. However, the coal mining mafia is so strong that the situation has kept under wraps so far”, he further added.

Finally, Langthasa expressed hope that dialogue pertaining to these issues would be opened among the concerned parties after this major disaster.

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