Hydrologist, new equipment to join rescue ops today

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Operations to rescue the 15 miners trapped in a rat-hole coal mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district for the past month are expected to get a fillip with a hydrologist from the Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and two teams with equipment from National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and Planys Technologies being roped in.
They are expected to join the effort from Sunday.
The miners were trapped inside the mine while working when water is said to have flooded it on December 13. Rescue operations began the following day. However, there has been no trace of the miners with the high level of water inside the mine posing as the biggest hurdle keeping divers of both the NDRF and the Indian Navy at bay.
Sources said an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft flew in the teams from Planys Technologies and NGRI to Guwahati on Saturday afternoon after picking them up from Chennai and Hyderabad respectively. They are expected to be at the site on Sunday.
On the other hand, hydrologist Sudhir Kumar from NIH arrived in Guwahati from Delhi in the afternoon.  The five-member Planys Technologies team is bringing in a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and support equipment weighing 500 kgs. The Indian Navy team is already using an ROV, but the one to be inducted by Planys Technologies is said to be smaller and hence is expected to have greater manouverablity inside the shaft of the mine where the miners are suspected to be trapped.
The sources said the NGRI team with ground penetrating radar will try to find the horizontal shafts and map the mine while Sudhir Kumar, using topographical map, will ascertain the flow and sources of water.
Together, they will also strive to locate the breach through which water is entering the mine and rendering the ongoing dewatering process meaningless.
On the other hand, the small ROV will follow the inputs provided by the ground penetrating radar and go underwater in the horizontal shafts to look for air pockets and life.
Besides the NDRF and Indian Navy, teams of Odisha Fire Service, State Disaster Response Force, Coal India Limited and Kirloskar Brothers Limited have been engaged in the rescue operations.
A Pune-based German company, KSB Pumps Limited, also joined the effort on Saturday with their 82HP pumps that can discharge 198000 litres of water per hour, official sources said.

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