New Delhi/ Shillong, March 15, 2019
The Supreme Court on March 15th, 2019 has asked the petitioner, who had petitioned against calling off of rescue operations at the rat hole mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, to ascertain from the families of the “deceased” (miners) if they wish to have their bodies recovered as they may have already decomposed. The mine was collapsed on December 13th, 2018 where 15 miners were trapped.
A bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the petitioner Aditya N Prasad to join a team of hydrologist and survey officer visiting the site.
“The petitioner has been directed to ascertain from the relatives of the deceased if they wish to have the bodies recovered having regard to the fact that they may be already in a completely decomposed condition,” directed the bench.
The central and the state governments, however, negated the claim of any shortcoming in the recovery operation while reiterating that the water from the river is continuing to flood the mines. The bench ordered, “Having regard to the controversy at this stage, we consider it appropriate to direct Dr. Sudhir Kumar, Hydrologist, National Institute of Hydrologist, Roorke, to visit the site in question and after reappraisal, submit a report pointing out whether the pumping that is being done specifically for dewatering is adequate. The Hydrologist may also suggest what needs to be done in the future for recovering the bodies.”