Thirteen miners were trapped inside a coal pit filled with gallons of water in Meghalayas East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday, police said. Officials said their chances of survival were bleak.
The accident inside the coal pit is significant as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014.
A rescue operation was on to get the trapped miners alive.
"As per verbal information received, 13 miners including three locals of Lumthari area were trapped inside the coal pit," Sylvester Nongtnger, the district police chief of East Jaintia Hills, told IANS.
"It appeared the miners resumed mining coal three to four days ago. Our first step is to rescue those people trapped inside the pit. We are pumping the water out of the pit with the help of generators but the water level has not receded," the police official said.
However, Nongtnger said that the chances of survival of the miners were very bleak.
"Efforts are on to identify the coal mine owner. We have already registered a case against the owner," he said.
Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known "rat hole mining".
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