Shillong: The Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the State government over the recent mining accident, where five migrant miners feared to be are trapped inside a flooded coal pit over the past eight days now in the coal-rich district of East Jaintia Hills.
On the other hand, rescuers from the National and State Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are continuing with the process of dewatering the flooded coal mine, even as the fate of the five miners remains unknown.
At least five migrant miners, including four from Assam and one from Tripura, have been trapped inside a 500-foot flooded coal mine since May 30. The miners got trapped inside as water gushed into the mine after a dynamite explosion.
Family members of the missing miners have been barred from entering the accident site despite a petition to the East Jaintia Hills district administration.
One of the family members of the missing miners, Yeahyea Hussain has filed a petition before the MHRC seeking its intervention to allow the family members to be at the accident site.
Based on the petition, the MHRC has issued a notice to the Meghalaya Government. The commission inquired why the family members were being denied entry into the accident site.
“No person should be deprived of his/her life or personal liberty according to procedure established by law,” the commission said while issuing the notice to the Meghalaya government.
The MHRC has also directed State Chief Secretary M.S.Rao to submit a detailed report to the Commission within ten days.
Hussain said that the Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills district, Ethelbert Kharmalki has assured that they would be allowed into the site, but still now there has been no confirmation.
Meanwhile, Katigorah MLA from Assam’s Cachar district, Khalil Uddin Mazumdar has written to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa seeking his intervention in trying to trace the missing miners and also help the family members.
“It has already been seven days and there is yet no trace of the missing labourers as informed by the Meghalaya administration. The district administration at East Jaintia Hills is not allowing family members or representatives of family (of victims) to visit the accident site,” Mazumdar wrote the Chief Minister.
On the other hand, a team of surveyors from the Meghalaya Land Records department on Wednesday conducted the survey of the main shaft, inside which the five miners are feared to be trapped and the other abandoned shaft.
“The survey team has confirmed that the identified abandoned mine shaft which is located 270 metres away from the main shaft where the incident took place are interconnected with each other,” an official overseeing the rescue operations said.
He said the preparation for dewatering process is in full swing and installation of a crane is completed in the abandoned shaft.
Meanwhile, the rescue teams of NDRF and SDRF verified the level of the water which has receded to 20 feet before resuming the dewatering process on Monday.