Shillong, May 2: The Meghalaya government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the families of the victims trapped inside a 370-foot deep illegal coal mine in Meghalaya over four months ago have consented to call off search operations, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said Thursday.
“We have filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court informing that the family members of the miners have given their consent to call off the search and rescue operations. We are waiting for directions from the Supreme Court on the matter,” Tynsong told PTI. In the affidavit, the government has attached the written consent received from the family members of the miners, he said.
At least 16 miners were trapped in the ill-fated mine at Ksan area on the morning of December 13 last year when the mine flooded. Of those trapped inside, the highly decomposed bodies of only two were retrieved by the Indian Navy and the NDRFearlier this year and handed over to their families. The multi-agency operations to rescue the remaining 14 coal miners trapped inside the illegal coal mine was affected Wednesday after nearby Ltein river swelled rendering the rescuers unable to reach to the site.
District Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills F M Dopth had submitted the letters to the state government on April 16, citing that the operation is called off as there had been no tangible result. Dopth, on his part, clarified that there was no reduction in the water level in the main shaft, where the miners were trapped, even after discharge of several crore litres of water.
The families of the 16 miners identified have been provided interim relief of Rs 3 lakh each and relatives of nine of the 14 victims have also given their consent in writing to the district administration to stop retrieving them but to increase compensation amount. The State has incurred about Rs 2.5 crore expenses in the ongoing operations till March, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had told the Assembly. (Agencies)