SHILLONG, Dec 14: The owner of the coalmine where illegal mining was taking place which was revealed after 13 labourers got trapped inside has been identified and is presently absconding, according to the state’s Home Minister, James Sangma.
Informing that the owner has been identified as James Sukhlain, Sangma said that he is absconding and that police are presently attempting to trace him.
A case has been registered against Sukhlain and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been invoked.
While stating that this is the first instance that has come to light, Sangma said, “If there has been any specific information about illegal mining taking place in this village and in this person’s land I am very sure the government departments would have swung into action but as I said it is not possible to go into these interior areas unless you get specific information.”
Assuring that the government will take action against illegal mining, Sangma said, “Right now we are looking at the rescue operations and at the same time specifically relating to this case the fact that his (Sukhlain) land been used for illegal mining.”
With regards to the rescue operations, Sangma said that the operation will be resumed on Saturday.
“Operations are on. It is a difficult task but they are still making efforts to pump out the water and at the same time to rescue the trapped miners,” Sangma said.
He said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with the district administration and police are trying their level best to rescue the miners and “we hope something positive emerges out of this.”
Sangma said it seems this area is very close to a river and that is why this mine got flooded with water. “However, the problem is the water and it is a challenging task and we don’t know whether they (miners) are still alive or not,” he added.
Meanwhile, the district police chief S Nongtyngnger informed that the rescue teams are still camping in the area and will again resume the operation on Saturday.