The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and Meghalaya government to file a status report before it by January 7 on the rescue operation of 15 miners trapped in coal mine in East Jaintia Hills since December 13.
During the hearing of the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, told the Apex Court that the mine is illegal, and has no blueprint. "It is a rat hole mine and no one knows which tunnel goes where. It is spread over five square kilometer area. Water is murky in the mine," Mehta informed the court.
The top court asked the state government to take action against mining owners.
Elaborating about the steps being taken to rescue the miners, the Solicitor General said, "Specialised divers of the Indian Navy were called for the rescue operation. We have been pumping out water but since there is seepage from the nearby river we are not able to get the water out. 12 divers and technical staff are at the spot but they have to get into each rat hole and check."
The Supreme Court said that genuine efforts should be made to rescue the labourers.
"We can't do everything. What we can see is whether genuine efforts are being made to rescue the miners. Initially, there were no serious efforts," the Apex Court observed.
On Thursday, the Apex Court asked Meghalaya government what steps have been taken so far to rescue the miners.
"We are not satisfied. We do not know what happened to them in 18 days. We don't know they are dead or alive. Something urgently must have been done. Can't you (State) request Army? We read in the newspaper that the Army volunteered but they are not allowed," the court had said.
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