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No breakthrough on day 23 in rescue operations

By Staff Correspondent
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SHILLONG, Jan 4 - The rescue operations in East Jaintia Hills has entered day 23 without much success and any comparison with the Thai cave rescue operations is farfetched as none have the faintest clue about the labyrinth of rat-holes that snakes for miles below.

It�s precisely this aspect that has hampered the rescue operations so far. Counsel of the State Government today informed the Supreme Court that there are no blueprints of these notorious rat-hole pits unlike the Thai Cave.

So the rescue personnel are literally working in the dark not knowing what lies beneath and where the water is seeping in from as there are at least 90 shafts near the disaster site mostly filled with water.

It has also exposed the inadequacies of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF,) not to mention the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to tackle such emergencies.

One of the aspects is that the NDRF doesn�t have high-powered pumps. Coal India Limited (CIL) is struggling till today to install one of its high-powered 100 Horse Power (HP) submersible pumps, so too, the Kiroloskar Brothers.

It�s only the 25 HP pumps of the Odisha Fire Service that are operational, but these have failed miserably under such condition when water is seeping in under high pressure from some unknown source. The challenge is to flush out water faster than it can seep in and send the Navy divers into the pits to locate the miners.

For the past few days the Navy divers have remained mere spectators as it�s not feasible to dive in such a pressurised pit with a depth of over 30 feet. The water level is now much higher in the main coal pit where the miners have entered in.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma acknowledging the massive logistic challenge in the rescue operations, said that the rescue operation is �not as simple as people are thinking.�

He added that the Government is putting in �100 per cent effort. We are doing what we can do. The mines are illegal mines, there are no plans (blueprint) where the tunnel are headed to� so it�s not easy.

Reacting to the Supreme Court�s observation that the Army should be called in the operations, Sangma said the �Army is responsible at a different level.�

He said that the Navy is more appropriate under such circumstances and even specialised Navy divers are having a big challenge. �Don�t know if Navy divers can move in the tunnels with their oxygen tanks even if the water recedes,� he added.

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No breakthrough on day 23 in rescue operations

SHILLONG, Jan 4 - The rescue operations in East Jaintia Hills has entered day 23 without much success and any comparison with the Thai cave rescue operations is farfetched as none have the faintest clue about the labyrinth of rat-holes that snakes for miles below.

It�s precisely this aspect that has hampered the rescue operations so far. Counsel of the State Government today informed the Supreme Court that there are no blueprints of these notorious rat-hole pits unlike the Thai Cave.

So the rescue personnel are literally working in the dark not knowing what lies beneath and where the water is seeping in from as there are at least 90 shafts near the disaster site mostly filled with water.

It has also exposed the inadequacies of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF,) not to mention the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to tackle such emergencies.

One of the aspects is that the NDRF doesn�t have high-powered pumps. Coal India Limited (CIL) is struggling till today to install one of its high-powered 100 Horse Power (HP) submersible pumps, so too, the Kiroloskar Brothers.

It�s only the 25 HP pumps of the Odisha Fire Service that are operational, but these have failed miserably under such condition when water is seeping in under high pressure from some unknown source. The challenge is to flush out water faster than it can seep in and send the Navy divers into the pits to locate the miners.

For the past few days the Navy divers have remained mere spectators as it�s not feasible to dive in such a pressurised pit with a depth of over 30 feet. The water level is now much higher in the main coal pit where the miners have entered in.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma acknowledging the massive logistic challenge in the rescue operations, said that the rescue operation is �not as simple as people are thinking.�

He added that the Government is putting in �100 per cent effort. We are doing what we can do. The mines are illegal mines, there are no plans (blueprint) where the tunnel are headed to� so it�s not easy.

Reacting to the Supreme Court�s observation that the Army should be called in the operations, Sangma said the �Army is responsible at a different level.�

He said that the Navy is more appropriate under such circumstances and even specialised Navy divers are having a big challenge. �Don�t know if Navy divers can move in the tunnels with their oxygen tanks even if the water recedes,� he added.

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