Shillong: “Suspicious objects” were spotted inside a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district where five miners have been trapped since May 30.
Naval divers have captured two “suspicious objects” inside the 500-feet abandoned coal mine inside which the five miners have been trapped for the past 16 days now.
Deputy Commissioner, East Jaintia Hills, Ethelbert Kharmalki, however, said that the Navy team analyzed the video footage but could not make much of it.
“Today, Navy divers dived again into the bottom and carried out mapping of the main shaft using ROV SONAR and could detect two suspicious objects inside the main shaft of the coal mine where the five miners are trapped is yet to be ascertained,” Kharmalki told UNI.
“The identification of the two suspicious objects cannot be ascertained at the moment due to high turbidity of the water due to disturbance of the soil inside the main shaft of the coal mine,” he said, adding that the Navy divers will again dive inside the main shaft of the coal mine on Wednesday to confirmed what the two “suspicious objects” really are.
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 at Umpleng area.
Six other migrant miners from Assam managed to escape the tragedy and they were later escorted by Meghalaya police to their respective homes in Assam.
Meghalaya police has arrested Shining Langstang, the current owner of the illegal coal mine at Umpleng area, while K. Chyrmang, the former owner of the mine was also detained by the police for questioning.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Nizam Uddin, the manager of the illegal coal mine who has been absconding following the mining tragedy, remained untraced, even as the Meghalaya police have issued lookout notice for him.
Rescue efforts are on to salvage the trapped miners.
On the other hand, the level of the water before resuming the de-watering process of the main shaft rose by four feet due to rain.
“About 2.88 lakh liters of water has been pumped out from the main shaft and about 7.56 lakh liters of water from the second shaft of another coal mine,” an official overseeing the rescue operation said.
Unscientific ‘rat-hole’ coal mining has been banned in the unregulated mines in Meghalaya since April 2014 by a National Green Tribunal order, but illegal mines like this one have flourished freely due to poor enforcement of the ban.