Top India court slams government over trapped miners

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s Supreme Court yesterday slammed authorities for their failure to rescue 15 workers trapped for 21 days in a flooded coal mine in the country’s remote northeast.

The so-called ‘rat-hole’ miners have been missing since December 13 last year when water gushed into the narrow pit from a nearby river in the state of Meghalaya.

The incident has been making headlines amid increasingly desperate efforts to save the group.

Multiple teams from the National Disaster Response Force, Coal India and the Indian Navy have been trying to reach the miners but in vain.

In response to a petition demanding that rescue efforts be stepped up, the top court said the government should ask the army to join rescue attempts, and asked why it had not yet done so.

“We’re not satisfied with the rescue operations… We pray that all are alive. Whether they are alive or dead, they need to be taken out,” the court said in its remarks.

Engineers with heavy-duty machines and divers were trying again yesterday to pump out water from the 115-metre deep tunnel.

Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel gather around a crane as Indian Navy divers are lifted with a pulley during rescue operations to help 15 miners trapped by flooding in an illegal coal mine in Ksan village in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on December 29, 2018. – AFP