NEW DELHI, January 3: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over the ongoing rescue operation to save the life of 15 miners who are trapped inside a coal mine in Meghalaya for almost three weeks and asked the Centre to place before it a detailed action plan by Friday.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer expressed surprise that no headway had been made in the operation when the lives of 15 people were at stake because of lack of coordination. It also expressed displeasure over the fact that help of experts was not sought.
It said urgent step needs to be taken as every second counts for the trapped miners.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Meghalaya’s advocate general Amit Kumar told the bench that adequate steps were being taken to remove the water from the mines and experts from Navy, National and State Disaster Response Force have been employed to carry out the operation.
Kumar said that 72 people from NDRF, 22 from SDRF, 14 Navy personnel and 10 Coal India personnel were involved in the operation and they were making an all-out effort to rescue the miners who are trapped inside since December 14.
The court, however, raised question on why the miners had not been rescued so far and said that it was not satisfied with the response of the state government. The court asked the Centre to intervene and provide all possible assistance to the state government.
The solicitor general assured the court that he will place before it the action plan to rescue the miners. He said that a nodal officer would be appointed to oversee the operation and to coordinate among different agencies involved in the operation.
The court said that every second counts for miners trapped in the coal mines who are fighting for life and Centre and states must make all out effort without any delay to rescue them by employing all resources at their disposal.
Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for PIL petitioner, alleged that there was lack of coordination among different agencies involved in the operation and the authorities were employing high capacity water pumps available with Kirloskar Brothers Ltd for pumping out water from the mines.
“The petitioner is aggrieved by the fact that the Centre had offered assistance to the Royal Thailand Government in the month of June/July last year for helping in rescuing 12 boys and their coach trapped in a cave inside a mountain in the country by offering technical assistance in the form of water pumps from Kirloskar Brothers Ltd. However, the same has not been done for the present and almost similar situation for pumping out of water.In the present circumstances it is essential that all technical know-how on the subject be pooled in from the country without any delay,” the petition said.
“The fact that high capacity water pumps are available within the country and were offered to a foreign nation but are not being pressed into service for saving its own citizens reflects the inconsiderate apathy of the authorities. Because since December 13 about fifteen men are believed to have been trapped in a deep coal mine in Meghalaya and all rescue efforts have failed due to lack of necessary equipment and non availability to technical manpower required for the same,” the petition said. (TNN)