Meghalaya mine tragedy: Police arrest mine owner Jrin Shullet, no headway in search operations

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New Delhi | Updated: January 4, 2019 11:08:58 AM

Meghalaya mine tragedy: Jrin Shullet, the 32-year-old mine owner is in jail now facing various charges including causing death by negligence and mining without permission.

Meghalaya mine tragedy: Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in Meghalaya. (File Photo)

Meghalaya Police have arrested the owner of the mine in which 15 workers are stranded for the past 22 days. Jrin Shullet, 32, has been arrested on the charges including causing death by negligence and mining without permission.

According to the Indian Express, there are two narratives in Shullet’s native village – first, that he was running an illegal makeshift mine sending workers down dangerous ‘rat holes’ located near a surging river; Second – that he gave jobs to several unemployed men in a remote village battling poverty while supporting his own family of six and 20 relatives who depended on him.

Meanwhile, the NDRF and Navy divers waited all day Thursday to resume rescue work but could not since the water level remained unchanged in the 370-feet-deep shaft in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court expressed strong dissatisfaction over the rescue efforts to trace those trapped inside the illegal mine for 22 days, telling the state government to bring them out dead or alive.

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The rescue agencies saw some progress in dewatering the nearby mines with the help of three high powered pumps pressed into service by the Odisha Fire and Disaster Service personnel. According to PTI, when the pumping stopped the water level in one mine went down by another six inches. On Wednesday, the water level had lowered by 16 inches in the mine.

Rigorous pumping of water from the nearby abandoned mines is expected to begin on Friday as two more high powered pumps arrived. A high powered submersible pump from Coal India Ltd will also begin pumping as the preparations to lower it inside the shaft took longer than expected.

On Thursday, the services of the rescue divers from the NDRF and the Indian Navy could not be utilised as the water level was above the safe diving limit of 30 metres. The rescue and search operations were halted for the night. The rescuers had to wait all day but since there was no change in the water level, they could not dive in.

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