SHILLONG, February 7, 2019: The services of Odisha Fire personnel engaged in the operation to dewater the flooded mines, to rescue miners trapped inside a 370-foot deep coal mine in Meghalayas East Jaintia Hills district since December 13, was not required anymore, an official said Wednesday.
The 21-member Odisha Fire Services team had arrived at Ksnan area on December 28 along with 10 high powered pump to dewater the mines. During their operation they had pumped out over 80 lakh litres of water from the mines, the official said.
“The services of Odhisa Fire Services are no longer required at present with the use of submersible pumps of other agencies,” district deputy commissioner F M Dopth told PTI.
He said their utility has been suspended for the last two days and the district authorities have given them a farewell function Tuesday evening.
The pumps of the OFS were engaged in dewatering at least two nearby abandoned mine shafts, close to where the disaster struck on December 13 last year trapping at least 15 miners.
Unlike other agencies that may charge for the services used in the rescue operation, Odhisa Fire Service, Divisional Fire Officer, S P Behera said the team has not charged anything.
“Meghalaya government provided accommodation, fuel, transportation to the site. All manpower and equipments were airlifted by the Indian Air Force. The return journey for the second team along with pump and equipment has been arranged by the state government,” Behera said.
The OFS team managed to pump out over 80 lakh litres of water singlehandedly, operation spokesperson R Susngi said.
At present the pumps from Coal India Ltd, Kirloskar Brothers and the KSB using their submersible pumps, he said.
Pumping at the main shaft was, however, suspended during the night to allow smooth functioning of the underwater ROVs which is conducting search of the bodies inside the coal mine, he said.
Only one body has been retrieved till date even as the operations to rescue the trapped miners entered its 55th day on Wednesday.
The body of another miner detected by the Navys ROV could not be retrieved due to the turbidity of the water inside the mine and the presence of mining materials left over by the miners causing obstructions, Susngi said.