Workers must not suffer, says Supreme Court on trapped Meghalaya miners

The miners have been missing since December 13 after the illegal coal mine in Ksan village of the coal-rich East Jaintia Hills, an area where illegal mining is rife, they were digging was flooded when water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.
Indian Navy personnel come out of a coal mine during a rescue operation in Ksan, Meghalaya, December 31, 2018 (File Photo)(REUTERS)
Indian Navy personnel come out of a coal mine during a rescue operation in Ksan, Meghalaya, December 31, 2018 (File Photo)(REUTERS)
Updated on Jan 04, 2019 01:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Supreme Court today asked the government to submit a status report on steps taken and the progress of the operation to rescue the 15 miners stuck in an illegal mine in Meghalaya since December 13.

When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that since the mine is illegal, there is no blueprint and this was hampering rescue efforts, Justice AK Sikri said the court doesn’t want to go into this issue.

“If the mine is illegal, action must be taken but that doesn’t mean workers must suffer. Our joint effort should be to see whether genuine efforts are being made to rescue the trapped or not,” he said.

Appearing to be satisfied with the efforts taken by the Centre, the court said it will now hear the matter on January 7.

The miners have been missing since December 13 after the illegal coal mine in 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, they were digging was flooded when water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.

The top court said on Thursday it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Meghalaya government to rescue the miners.

“Every minute counts for those trapped there for almost three weeks. A prompt, immediate and effective operation is needed to rescue them,” the bench led by Justice Sikri told solicitor general Mehta.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022