Shillong: At least two miners were found dead when an illegal coal mine collapsed on Sunday in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district.
The deceased workers were identified as Elad Bareh and Monoj Basumatry from Mooknor in Jalyiah village.
“It is suspected that boulders hit them when they tried to extract coal," police said, adding that efforts are on to find out the owner of the illegal mine.
Police have also uncovered another four cases of illegal mining in the coal-rich East Jaintia Hills district, where a National Green Tribunal ban on such activities has been placed for more than four years.
“As soon as we arrest 10 (illegal miners), 20 more turn up in the district,” superintendent of police of East Jaintia Hills S Nongtnger said.
Meanwhile, the rescue operation for the 15 miners trapped in a flooded illegal coal mine in Ksan village of East Jaintia Hills district was affected on Sunday as the two high-powered pumps engaged in dewatering faced technical glitches.
For nearly a week, rescuers have been struggling to pump out water from the 370-foot-deep pit, further dimming chances of the miners' survival.
Water gushed into the mine after at least 15 miners went down the narrow pit on December 13.