State govt mulls calling off Ksan mine rescue ops

SHILLONG: There are murmurs in the state government to call off the ongoing rescue operations at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district where 14 miners are trapped in a rat-hole coal mine for nearly two months.
Fifteen miners were trapped when water flooded the mine on December 13. The rescue operations involving multiple agencies, including the Indian Navy, that began the next day have so far thrown up only one body, that of a miner from Assam’s Chirang district. Another body was also detected on January 26, but it is yet to be brought out because of turbidity and obstacles inside the mine.
The minister in charge of Disaster and Revenue, Kyrmen Shylla, on Wednesday said he would discuss with the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma, about approaching the Supreme Court regarding the ongoing operations as these were not yielding any significant results.
The Supreme Court, which is hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Aditya N Prasad on the rescue operations, has asked the central and state governments to continue the effort and rescue the trapped miners “dead or alive”.
Stating that despite continuous de-watering by several agencies using high-capacity pumps the water level in the ill-fated mine has not shown any change and even the Navy’s underwater remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) is finding it difficult to operate, Kyrmen said that he will discuss with the Chief Minister to take a call on approaching the Supreme Court for further directions.
He said the Odisha Fire Service team has left as their services were not required anymore, but pumps of Kirloskar Brothers Limited, Coal India Limited and KSB Pumps are in place and will continue to de-water the affected mine and a few peripheral ones.
Shylla said around 100 to 200 pumps are required to completely de-water the mines and the cost could go up to around Rs 100 crore. If it rains, the operation will become more difficult.
He also said that a large amount of money has already been spent on the rescue operations since huge manpower along with equipment are deployed at the site.

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