meghalaya miners

Rescue personnel work to rescue fifteen miners who are trapped inside a coal pit filled with gallons of water in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI (IANS) - While 15 miners continue to remain trapped in a flooded coal mine in Meghalaya for a fortnight now, the issue led to a political slug-fest Dec. 26 with Rahul Gandhi targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centers ruling BJP accusing the Congress President of politicizing a tragedy.

The miners have been trapped in a flooded coal pit in East Jaintia Hills district since Dec. 13. The National Disaster Response Force team has been struggling to rescue them but the surging water level inside the 370-feet pit has been hampering the rescue efforts.

The NDRF has used a sonar system and an underwater camera to detect the trapped miners. However, the system failed to locate any of those trapped in the main well due to poor visibility.

Slamming Modi for not offering necessary help to rescue the trapped miners, Gandhi took to twitter urging the Prime Minister to save the miners.

"15 miners have been struggling for air in a flooded coal mine for two weeks. Meanwhile, Prime Minister struts about on Bogibeel Bridge posing for cameras," tweeted Gandhi referring to Modi who inaugurated a bridge in Assam a day earlier.

"His government refuses to organize high pressure pumps for the rescue. Prime Minister please save the miners," added Gandhi tagging a media report stating that the rescue efforts were hampered by lack of effective equipment.

Replying to Gandhi's tweet, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju blamed the negligence of the previous Congress government for the tragedy.

"No politics on tragedy please, Rahul Gandhi. We have been helping the state government with all possible means. But the unsafe illegal mining activities were due to the negligence of the previous Congress government," said Rijiju referring to the Congress which ruled the state before the Conrad Sangma-led National People's Party came to power in March 2018. 

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