Meghalaya mine tragedy: Not abandoning operation to pull out bodies, govt tells SC

The SC had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the rescue efforts to trace the miners and rapped the Meghalaya government for not seeking the Army's help.

Meghalaya mine tragedy: Not abandoning operation to pull out bodies, govt tells SC

Meghalaya: The Meghalaya government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has filed the status report in connection with the trapped miners in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills District. The state government told the apex court that it is not abandoning the rescue operation.

The SC had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with the rescue efforts to trace the miners and rapped the Meghalaya government for not seeking the Army's help. The top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking steps to rescue the 15 miners.

The statement comes a day after the Indian Navy abandoned its efforts on Sunday to pull out the decomposed body of a miner that it spotted four days ago inside a coal mine. The Navy divers had spotted the decomposed body of a trapped miner on Wednesday, using an unmanned, remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) at a depth of around 160 feet inside the mine's main shaft.

At least 15 miners are trapped inside the mine since December 13 last year after one of them accidentally punctured the wall of the mine, leading to its flooding. "The Navy suspended the pulling of the remains, which they had been trying since Saturday evening, as too much disintegration (of the body) took place with every pull by the ROV jaw," operation spokesperson R Susngi said.

The families of four of the 15 miners had on Saturday urged the rescuers to retrieve the decomposed body so that they could perform the last rites.

A multi-agency operation, which included de-watering of the main shaft where the miners are trapped, and of the nearby mines, has failed to yield any result as the water level has not gone down.

The Navy divers were awaiting further instructions from the government, Susngi said.

The family members of the victims from Garo Hills have also been summoned to the site to help identify the body from the video shot underwater by the ROV earlier this week.

An ROV operator from Chennai went on with a search operation in the nearby mines and the Coal India continued de-watering in the two nearby abandoned shafts by running their pumps for 23 hours since Saturday evening, Susngi said.