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Trapped coal miners: Meghalaya rescue operations continue

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The Meghalaya Cabinet on Wednesday discussed the ongoing rescue operations to trace the 15 miners, who are trapped inside an illegal flooded coal mine for more than a month now.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who also handles the mining and geology department, and Home Minister James Sangma apprised the Cabinet about the latest rescue situation at Ksan village in State’s East Jaintia Hills district.
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“Till today, the rescue operation is still on. In the next few days, the district administration and the department concerned will meet the experts who are in ground zero. They tried their best and they are doing it till today… let us see for how many more days,” said Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynosng.

Asked about the possibility of calling off the rescue operation, he said, “Till this moment the experts are still on the job. Until and unless we get their views, we cannot say anything. Once that is done, then we will accordingly file affidavit in the Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court-monitored rescue operation is aimed at taking out the trapped miners “dead or alive”.

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On the expenditure incurred in the rescue operation, the Deputy Chief Minister said, “We are yet to know the details. This has been handled by the district administration.”

Meanwhile, the Coal India Limited has informed the district administration that the water level at the main shaft, where the 15 miners are trapped, and the abandoned shafts remained the same despite several million gallons of water being pumped out.

The Indian Navy lowered the underwater remotely operated vehicle at the main shaft, but failed to capture any of the trapped miners.

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Scientists from the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute conducted the micro gravimetric measurement and differential position profile system to identify the seepage of water in the main shaft.

Experts from the Chennai-based Plenys Technology continue to conduct the sonar mapping of the shaft to identify the rat-hole tunnel.

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Woman, three children die in fire in UP village

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Banda, Dec 26 : Three children and their mother were burnt to death in a fire which spread from a bonfire in Dubey Purva Mau village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Mahendra Pratap Chauhan, said, “Kallu, a resident of Dubey Purva village in Marka police station area in Banda district is a daily wager from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He lived there along with his wife and three children. The sparks emanating from the bonfire lit due to the cold gutted the entire house. Possible other reasons behind the fire are also being probed.”

According to the locals, the villagers raised an alarm when they saw the flames engulfing Kallu’s house. By the time they were able to break open the door, the entire house had turned into rubble. There was only burnt debris and smoke everywhere. On receiving information, the police arrived and the fire brigade too reached the site.

Villagers said the mother and her three children were burnt to death in the fire in the kuccha house which began from a bonfire. The police and the fire brigade personnel put out the fire and removed the bodies from the rubble.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate said prima facie the cause of the fire appears to be the sparks from the bonfire. But only an investigation can confirm the actual reason.

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