Rescue operation to flush out the 14 labourers from the illegal mine in East Jaintia Hills Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Almost 15 days after at least 14 miners were trapped inside an illegal ‘rat-hole’ coal mine in the Saipung area of Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, a six-member team from the Congress paid a visit to the accident site on Friday.

During their visit, the six Congress leaders, including M Ampareen Lyngdoh, George B Lyngdoh, H M Shangpliang, Mohendro Rapsang, Dr Azad Aman and Shitlang Pale, pointed out several issues with the arrangements made by the district administration. The team also made several suggestions to the administration in order to improve the search and rescue operations.

Following are the suggestions made by the team in its original form:

· DC to be immediately recalled from leave. It is surprising to note that the DC has been allowed to proceed on leave in spite of a disaster of such a scale. Precious lives are at stake, but, officers put in charge of the rescue operations has been allowed to go on leave, with no senior officer in charge of the operations.

· A senior-level officer to be made in charge of the rescue operations: A senior level officer at the level of commissioner and secretary should be put in charge of the entire rescue operations and to coordinate with the national and state teams. This will improve the coordination and decisions can be speeded up.

· IGP-level officer to be deputed to the site and may be asked to coordinate among the NDRF, SDRF & State Police.

· Tents and logistics: There is an immediate need to send good quality tents and basic amenities for the rescue teams as there are operating under very difficult conditions. With the high powered submersible pumps to arrive, the logistics for power supply and transport should be made available beforehand.

· Medical team: The medical team identified for the rescue operations are not posted on site. The team is sitting at Sutnga PHC and made to visit on need-to basis only. A small medical team should be present on site 24×7. If required additional personnel should be sent from Jowai or Shillong to assist the ones in Sutnga.

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