Rescue ops underway to trace workers trapped in Meghalaya mine

Shillong: Eyewitness of the coal mine tragedy in East Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya, claimed a dynamite explosion led to five persons getting trapped.

A sudden rush inundated the mine, leaving the five trapped inside.

East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police (SP), Jagpal Singh Dhanoa, informed that six persons came forward with eye witness account of the events that transpired on May 30, 2021.

The SP informed that based on information received from Superintendent of Police Silchar, about six mineworkers trapped in a coal mine in East Jaintia Hills on the night of May 30, 2021, the district police were able to identify the probable location of the incident on May 31.

The Police faced difficulty in identifying the location due to inclement weather, poor night light condition and non-availability of any eyewitness account.

After higher authorities were apprised about the probable incident, and in collaboration with the district administration search and rescue operation was launched. The state disaster response team also reached the probable location of the incident thereafter.

During the search and rescue operation, under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) the six persons had come forward at 5 pm today with eye witness account.

“The main culprit as per eyewitness is Sordar Nizam Ali, who did nothing to rescue the trapped labourers. Rather Nizam Ali threatened the survivors with dire consequences and chased them away from the mining site,” informed Dhanoa.

He said that based on their account FIR was registered at Khliehriat PS under IPC Section 21 (5) MMDR Act R/W Section 51 (b) Disaster Management Act.

According to the SP, one person was detained for questioning. Unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID-19 and is being kept under guard at Isolation Centre at Khliehriat.

The police have been able to identify the names of only three persons out of the five persons trapped in the mines. Abdul Karim from Boko, Assam, Abdul Kalam from Barpeta, Assam and Shyamcharan Debbarma from Tripura. The remaining two persons are from Silchar, Assam, but the names have not yet been identified.

The police urged people with information about the remaining persons from Silchar to contact this phone number +91 7005286235 , +91 7005933923.

Rathole mining was banned as early as 2014 by the National Green Tribunal, but mining continues unabated in the state. In 2018, at least 17 miners, mostly from Assam, were killed. Similarly, in January this year, six workers in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district were killed in a crane accident while working at an abandoned coal mine site.

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