Water level in Meghalaya coal mine recedes by 22 feet

Water level in Meghalaya coal mine recedes by 22 feet
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Shillong,: The water level in the flooded 152-metre-deep coal pit in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, where five people have been trapped since May 30, receded by 22 feet on Friday, an official said.

Rescuers have pumped out 2.88 lakh litres of water from the main shaft and 8.10 lakh litres from the second shaft, he said.

"Navy divers could not dive during the day due to repairs and replacement of parts of the crane. As soon as the crane is ready, the divers will resume the operation," the official said.

The dewatering process is continuing, he said.

The Navy and NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) divers had on Wednesday retrieved a body which has not been claimed by anyone so far, he said.

The Navy divers had on Thursday failed to retrieve an object suspected to be the body of another miner as it was trapped under the debris inside the main shaft.

Five migrant workers from Assam and Tripura have been feared trapped in the coal mine after a dynamite blast led to its flooding.

Hazardous rat-hole coal mining is not permitted in Meghalaya after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned it in 2014.

In rat-hole mining, a deep vertical shaft is dug till coal seams are found, after which the mineral is taken out through small holes along a horizontal line of coal seams.

The coal mine owner has been arrested but the 'sordar' (mine manager) is still at large.