Shillong | July 12, 2019:
In a major relief to the Meghalaya Government, the Supreme Court today accepted the plea to call off the rescue operations of the 13 trapped miners in an illegal rat-hole coal mine at Khloo Rynksan in East Jaintia Hills.
The State Government had earlier petitioned the Supreme Court to consider calling off the operations since it was heading nowhere. Sources said that the State Government spent nearly Rs 4 crore in this rescue operation and the amount is likely to increase. The Government had announced an interim relief of Rs. 1 lakh each to the families of the trapped miners.
Informing about this decision of the apex court, Attorney General of the State, Amit Kumar said that the Supreme Court allowed the application and permitted the State to close the operation. Kumar also informed that the Supreme Court wanted to close the case.
However, request was made by senior counsel of the petitioner for laying standard operating procedure to be followed for future for similar situation across India. “The case has been adjourned for 4 weeks,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said that he has been informed that the apex court has accepted the appeal of the Government. “I will be calling a meeting to discuss on the decision of the Supreme Court. We will move forward as per the clearance of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Echoing similar views, Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong said that the State Government had filed an affidavit to appeal to call off the rescue operations since they were not able to continue with the dewatering process.
On the same note, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister, Kyrmen Shylla said that though they are yet to receive the report, but the news comes as a big relief as the operations currently was heading nowhere.
He said that months of de-watering process could not bring the water level down and to add to the woes heavy rainfall and flooding spoiled everything in later months.
Meanwhile, East Jaintia Hills, Deputy Commissioner, who was monitoring the operations, FM Dopth informed that the rough expenditure is 3.5cr upto May this year.
” Details of pending bills and claims from May onwards will be submitted by concerned suppliers and contractors will compiled and send to the state government,” informed Dopth.
It may be mentioned that it has been more than seven months since the miners were trapped in a coal mines at Ksan village on December 13 last year.
The rescue operations failed to get the desired results despite the involvement of multiple agencies. During the rescue operations, only two bodies of the miners have been retrieved from the coal mine.
While the Odisha fire service team and navy divers were called off, the Kirloskar brothers, Coal India Limited, the SDRF and NDRF were still present at the site of the operations to carry out the dewatering process. In the past few weeks the operation had to be temporarily suspended due to heavy rain and flooding in the area