Shillong: The ongoing search operation in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills has hit a major obstacle as the authorities concerned have failed to find out the exact source of water flowing into the illegal coal mine, where at least 13 miners have been trapped for the past five days.
As per Rajan Pradhan, who has been working as a supervisor in the coal mines of the area for the past 25 years, it will take a minimum of three months to flush out the water from the mine, going by the pace of operations that is currently being undertaken.
“It’s a rat hole mine. The entire area is connected through such mines deep inside the ground within a radius of 10-15 km. So, finding out the source of water will be a Herculean task. Even if we use 10-12 water pumps at a time, it will take a minimum of three months to flush out the water. This mine is likely to have over 300 feet of water right now,” Pradhan said.
The supervisor, who hails from Nepal, also said that the possibility of any survivor in the mine looks remote now. “There are over 200 mines here and all are inter-connected with water inside. So, I don’t think there can be any survivor,” he added.
Everything boils down to the water levels now. "The water level is not decreasing at all. Unless we don’t touch the surface of the mine, it would be really tough to successfully conduct the search operation. However, we are hopeful that we will achieve success soon,” said SK Singh, assistant commandant, NDRF.
Meanwhile, experts associated with the rescue operation feel that the authorities concerned may take the help of experts from the Geological Survey of India to ascertain the exact flow of water inside the mine.