Shillong: Questioned by the Supreme Court regarding steps taken to rescue the trapped miners from the illegal flooded coal mine in East Jaintia Hills, the Meghalaya government said that they are “taking steps to rescue the trapped miners. 72 NDRF personnel, 14 Navy personnel and Coal India personnel are working since December 14.”

The apex court retorted, “Then, why are they not successful?” Emphasising the urgency in the matter, SC said, “it is a very serious situation and a question of life and death of 15 coal miners who are trapped.” (Also Read: No Way Trapped Meghalaya Miners Will be Alive, How Long Can They Hold Breath Underwater: Survivor)

Supreme Court further said, “We are not satisfied with the rescue operations.”

A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul today heard a plea seeking the deployment of adequate manpower and equipment for the rescue of miners trapped in a flooded mine in Meghalaya.

The petition by lawyer Aditya N. Prasad said the equipment to flush out the water being offered by Kirloskars and Tata Trust should be immediately airlifted to the site instead of sending it by road.

Earlier, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had contradicted media reports which quoted it as saying the trapped minors were suspected to be dead on the basis of a foul odour that the force’s divers had encountered when they went inside the mine. It had said the foul smell could be due to the stagnant water in the mine as pumping had been halted for more than 48 hours

Notably, 15 miners are trapped inside a 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 after water from a nearby river gushed in, puncturing the mine wall.