‘Didn’t take it seriously’: Congress MP attacks govt over Meghalaya rescue
The miners have been missing after the illegal coal mine they were digging collapsed on them on December 13 in Ksan village of Meghalaya, an area where illegal mining is rife and a National Green Tribunal ban on such activities has been in place for four years.Updated: Dec 28, 2018 14:35 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress lawmaker from Shillong Vincent H Pala has attacked the Centre over its slow response in rescuing the Meghalaya miners and suggested it might be too late for the 15 men trapped in a flooded illegal coal mine in the state’s East Jaintia Hills district.
The miners have been missing after the mine they were digging collapsed on them on December 13 in the remote Ksan village of the coal-rich East Jaintia Hills, an area where illegal mining is rife and a National Green Tribunal ban on such activities has been in place for four years.
The state government has been under attack for the tardy rescue operation in the Saipung area of the northeastern state. All that the rescue officials in Meghalaya have recovered so far are three helmets.
(Follow live updates of the Meghalaya rescue operation here)
“I am very sure most people have died. I came to know from local people that there is no chance for the people there. Those who survive, they run away since the mining was illegal,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“Earlier the central government did not take seriously in sending the pumps. I hope with the new pumps coming they will be able to pump water. It will take minimum two to three days then we will be able to retrieve the bodies,” he said.
Watch: Rescue operations underway for 15 miners trapped in flooded Meghalaya mine
He was referring to the 21-member team of Odisha Fire Services that has been sent to the village in the northeastern state on Friday with high-powered dewatering pumps to assist local authorities in a fresh attempt to rescue the Meghalaya miners.
Before Friday’s attack on the Centre, Pala had goofed up in Lok Sabha on Thursday when he when said the miners were trapped in Mizoram mine instead of Meghalaya while moving an adjournment notice on the issue. He said there was a need to rescue the miners trapped in Mizoram.
His party’s president Rahul Gandhi has already criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not doing enough to help the trapped Meghalaya miners. Rahul Gandhi said the Prime Minister was instead “strutting” and “posing for cameras” while inaugurating the Bogibeel railroad bridge in neighbouring Assam.
However, the state government rejected Rahul Gandhi’s charges and said it was making efforts to rescue the Meghalaya miners.
First Published: Dec 28, 2018 13:18 IST