Meghalaya coal mine tragedy: Eighteen high powered pumps enroute to mining site

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KHLIEHRIAT, Dec 28: After days of unsuccessful efforts to pump water out from the 370 feet mine in East Jaintia hills where 15 miners were trapped since December 13, eighteen high power pumps are on its way to the site.
A team of surveyors from Kirloskar Brothers Ltd arrived last night and left today morning while a senior manager of Coal India Ltd arrived on Friday afternoon, East Jaintia Hills district SP Sylvester Nongtynger said.
“We are waiting for the initial 10 high powered pumps which will arrive anytime in the evening today (Friday),” he said.
He said these pumps are being sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs through the NDMA.
The pumps which arrived in Guwahati in the afternoon will be transported using trailers till about 2 km from the accident site and from there vehicles have been requisitioned to take them to the ill-fated mine, a senior district official said.
Coal India Ltd general manager J Bora said CIL has mobilised eight high powered pumps from their offices all over the country and the pumps are being transported by road till the site.
The farthest place from which the pump was mobilised is from Belaspur and the trucks will take 3 to 4 days to arrive, Bora said.
Bora and his colleague arrived in the afternoon and a team of another 10 experts are expected to arrive here later.
According to Bora, the survey team will conduct all necessary exercises prior to the arrival of the pumps and each pump will take about 8 hours to complete fittings and start pumping.
He said while four will take care of the survey work, the other six will take up the pumping works.
Bora said each pump of 100 hp weighed around 800 kgs and can pumped 500 gallons of water per minute.
It may be mentioned here that the pumping of water from the mine has been temporarily suspended from December 24.
A total of 71 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 22 from the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 11 from Civil Defence and Home Guard besides police are still camping at the site while waiting for the arrival of the big pumps.
During the past two weeks, the operation teams have pumped out 20 lakh litres of water from the coal pit but this effort did not yield any result since the water level remained the same.
A senior district official said that the expert teams from both Coal India Limited and Kirloskar will submit their respective reports to the district administration which will take accordingly take a call on the kind of operation to be taken up to ensure the trapped miners are rescued at the earliest.
At least 15 miners were trapped at an illegal coal mine at Khloo Ryngksan (and not Ksan as was reported earlier) after water from nearby Lytein River gushed inside the mine on December 13.

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