On 13 December, 17 miners were trapped in a flooded “rat-hole” mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district.
On 13 December, 17 miners were trapped in a flooded “rat-hole” mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district.(Photo: ANI)
  • 1. What Happened on 13 December?
  • 2. Rescue Operation
  • 3. What is the State Government Doing?
  • 4. Opposition's Reaction
  • 5. What is Rat-Hole Mining?
Meghalaya ‘Rat Hole’ Mining: The Fate of 17 Miners Remains Unknown

“In June 2018, when 13 school boys of a football team were trapped in a cave in Thailand, the whole world waited with bated breath to hear,” the editor of Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim, wrote in an article on News18, drawing an analogy between the successful rescue of the Thai boys and that of the forgotten miners in Meghalaya.

On 13 December, 17 miners were trapped in a flooded “rat-hole” mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, and their fate continues to remain unknown as rescuers fight the surging water level inside the 370-feet coal pit.

The rescue operations were suspended by the Meghalaya government on Monday, 24 December, for want of high-powered pumps to flush out water from the pit.

The officials have been waiting for 100 hp pumps to arrive for the past three days, as the state government was yet to send them across.

A government official, who is overseeing the rescue operations at the Lumthari mining site, told news agency IANS that the trapped miners are feared dead as the water from nearby Lytein stream is gushing into the pit.

  • 1. What Happened on 13 December?

    On 13 December, miners went in by a 15-feet-by-15-feet vertical shaft which is around 370 feet deep. At the bottom of the mine, at least four to five horizontal holes are dug from which coal chips are taken out.

    According to locals, one of the diggers could have accidentally punctured the walls of the cave following which the river water gushed into it on 13 December.

    A 22-year-old man named Sayeb Ali, who managed to save himself from the incident, by getting out of the mine before it caved in, told NDTV that while all the labourers working in the mine knew that it was a dangerous job, they need to work it to earn their buck.

    “The coal was soft. We could understand that there was water seepage that has made it soft. The sardar knew which part of the mine had more water. He stopped us from using two seats of the mine because there were chances of the floor caving in and water gushing inside.”

    The water level has still not subsided and according to NDRF assistant commandant SK Singh the current water level in the mine shaft is about 70 feet.

    Also Read : Rescue Operations For Men Trapped In Meghalaya Coal Mines Halted

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