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Mine rescue ops uphill task: CM

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Thursday said agencies engaged in operations to rescue the 15 trapped miners at an illegal coal mine in Ksan of East Jaintia Hills district were faced with an uphill task while reiterating that regulated mining could have prevented the mishap.
The miners have been trapped since December 13 when water is said to have flooded the mine as they were extracting coal illegally.
The chief minister held a high level review meeting on the ongoing rescue operations that was attended by the chief secretary, officials of the Indian Navy, National Disaster Response Force, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, Coal India Limited and the state administration.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Conrad said that KBL, CIL and Odisha Fire Service were pumping out water from the shaft of the mine where the miners are trapped besides some other adjacent ones and so far over one crore litres of water have so far been drained out from the shaft.
On Thursday, according to official sources, over 13 lakh litres of water were pumped out.
The KBL pumped out nearly 29 lakh litres of water from the main shaft in 16 hours from 7 pm on Wednesday. However, there has been no official confirmation on how much the water level has receded.
The chief minister, while admitting that task is difficult asserted that best possible attempts are being made to rescue the miners; even Indian Navy divers were finding it difficult to maneuver their underwater remote controlled vehicle inside the mine.
Stating that mishaps do happen in coal mines even with scientific methods, he added that if coal mining was regulated properly in the state, such disasters would have been fewer.
“It is important that we regulate things with proper system so that people are safe as well as it improves the economy of the state,” he said.
He also defended the state government over the large scale illegal mining going on in the state saying it is not possible for the administration to man every inch of the state.
Meanwhile, operation spokesperson R Susngi said the Navy has conducted searches in at least six mines, including in the main shaft, for the trapped diggers, but without success.
At least 200 rescuers from the Navy, NDRF, the Odisha Fire Service, State Disaster Response Force, state fire service and others from CIL and KBL are involved in the multi-agency rescue operations. (With PTI input)

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