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Meghalaya Miners Update: Race against time even as offers of help pour in

The miners have been trapped in a ‘rat-hole’ mine since December 13 after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.

SNS | New Delhi |

The rescue operations in Saipung area of East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya have entered 14th day to rescue the 15 miners who have been trapped inside a coal mine. Even as the chances of the miners being rescued alive are getting dim by the hour, offers of help have been pouring in from various quarters.

The latest to join in the endeavour is Kirloskar Brothers Limited who have in a tweet expressed their deep concerns about the safety of the trapped miners and have offered to help in the rescue operations ‘in whichever way possible.’

“We are in touch with the officials of the Govt of Meghalaya to offer our assistance in this regard. We hope all miners are rescued safely,” read the tweet.

Kirloskar Brothers Limited is a pump manufacturing company involved in engineering and manufacture of systems for fluid management.

On Wednesday, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) divers, who have been carrying out search operations, reported ‘foul odour’ from the mines, which does not portend well as the ‘foul odour’ could indicate that the miners are dead and their bodies have started to decompose.

The miners have been trapped in a ‘rat-hole’ mine since December 13 after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.

“That is not a good sign,” said Santosh Singh, NDRF Assistant Commandant who is heading the rescue work adding, “Miracles do happen. As rescue personnel, we keep our hopes up till the last minute. But practically speaking, in this case, the chances of rescuing the men are very slim. Here, the conditions are much more complicated than the rescue of children who were trapped in the Thailand cave recently.”

A team of 72 members from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 23 members from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and five members of the Fire and Emergency service have been deployed to rescue the trapped miners.

The accident inside the coal pit is of significance, especially because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in the state from April 17, 2014.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that the administration and the NDRF are working hard to trace the miners, but, unfortunately, the operation did not yield any result.

The state government had on December 22 announced Rs 1 lakh interim relief to the family members of each of the 15 miners.

(With agency inputs)