Shillong: Navy and NDRF divers are preparing to enter a Meghalaya coal mine, where 15 miners are trapped, to gauge the water level, even as efforts are on Wednesday to instal high-powered submersible pumps to drain out water from interconnected shafts, officials said.
They divers will measure the water level again to take a call on resuming search and rescue operation for the trapped diggers, they said.
Operation spokesperson R Susngi told PTI that so far only one of the 10 pumps brought by a team from Odisha is in use in a nearby abandoned mine. “We expect a high powered pump from Coal India be put to use later today. Till now, a lot of preparation is going on,” Susngi said.
Divers from Navy and the NDRF will go inside the main shaft, where the disaster occurred on December 13, to measure afresh the water level to take a call on resuming search and rescue operation, Susngi said giving details of the operation on the 21st day of the disaster.
The exercise is to find out if the abandoned mine is connected with the 370-foot-deep mine in which the 15 miners are trapped, Susngi said.
Other five pumps with similar power and functions from Coal India Ltd are on the way by road from their various centres across the country.
On Tuesday, water level had gone down by six inches in a nearby shaft but when Navy and NDRF divers went inside the main shaft they found that it was not connected with the rat-hole mine and hence water level remained unchanged to conduct the search and rescue operation.
Till Tuesday only one pump was operational. After three hours pumping the water in the old shaft nearby, it was found that the water level in the nearby old shaft descended upto 6 inches, operation spokesperson R Susngi had said.
He said that the same pump will work for more number of hours on Wednesday than it did on Tuesday.
With search and the rescue operation not making much headway, no contact has been established with the trapped miners even after 21 days of the disaster.
It is still not clear whether they have access to food or water.
Fifteen miners are trapped inside a 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 after water from a nearby river gushed in, puncturing the mine wall.