Meghalaya miners: Nobody to the rescue

13 December 2018. 15 Meghalaya miners trapped. What have been the earlier precedents in the world for the rescue operations of such accidents?

The rescue precedents

5 August 2010. Chilean mining accident happens. Thirty-three men trapped. On 13 October 2010, the men were rescued, as an estimated 1 billion people world-wide watched. Nearly every Chilean government ministry, the United States’ NASA space agency, and a dozen corporations from around the world cooperated completing the rescue. Private donations covered one-third of the US$20 million cost of the rescue (Source:

23 June 2018. Thailand cave accident happens. 12 boys and their coach trapped. Between 8 and 10 July 2018, all of the boys and their coach were rescued. The rescue effort involved more than 10,000 people, including over 100 divers, representatives from about 100 government agencies, 900 police officers and 2,000 soldiers, and the pumping of more than a billion litres of water out of the caves (Source:

The above 2 incidents show the strength of the human will-power. It goes on to show that in the face of adversity, the man-kind comes together across the world and there is nothing that is insurmountable.

Meghalaya miners rescue scenario

13 December 2018. 15 Meghalaya miners trapped. The below mentioned are the excerpts from the 18 December 2018 Indian Express.

“We need more effective pumps to pump out the water from the mine — and the ones being used now are not enough” Superintendent of Police of EJH district, Sylvester Nongtnger told The Indian Express. “The kind of machinery required to pump out water is not available with the rescue teams. The process to acquire such pumps from the ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) is going on” a top Meghalaya police officer told The Indian Express.

As on date, 25 December 2018, below is the latest update on Meghalaya miners rescue as per National Disaster Response Force commandant SK Shastri says “we would be requiring at least 10 pumps of 100 horsepower each to pump out the water, currently, the rescue team has two pumps of 25 horsepower at its disposal.” Meaning, the rescue operations requires 1000 hp and they are doing it with 50 hp.

NDRF has requested the district administration to make the pumps available. The District Collector has written to the government for the requirement of new pumps. PW Ingty, Meghalaya’s additional chief secretary who heads the state’s disaster management department, declines to comment, saying he was “not in Shillong”.

NDRF, a central body, requests the District Collector, who in turn requests the government. The state’s disaster management head says that he is not in Shillong, so he cannot comment. Wondering who is in charge of the rescue and these people are supposed to govern us.

Nobody to the rescue

In Chile and Thailand, all the government departments immediately swung into action. International organizations were roped in for the rescue operations. In Meghalaya, even after 12 days, the pumps are nowhere to be found of the required capacity.

On 25th December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Assam inaugurating Bogibeel bridge. He could have stopped by in Meghalaya to boost the rescue operations and get the nation to rally behind these miners.

Rahul Gandhi is hammering the Narendra Modi government but remains silent about the role of the Central government in Meghalaya miners rescue.

Chile and Thailand accidents happened in remote locations. This did not stop them from being beamed 24*7 across the world. Why not the Meghalaya miners accident?

Our media is full of election results, the analysis and the forecasts for India 2019. Any more space left is filled up by the high profile marriages and their attendees. The updates on Meghalaya miners is few and far in between.

Agreed that Meghalaya mines are illegal. Does it mean that lives of these 15 Meghalaya miners trapped have any lesser dignity? Rather, the state government has to answer for the lives of these 15 miners. Under whose watch illegal coal mining is happening?

But nothing of these sorts will happen. Nobody – the government, the media, us, are bothered about Meghalaya miners.

What makes us so indifferent as citizens? Why such apathy for our fellow Indians?

Will anybody be saving these Meghalaya miners?

PS: After the Thailand rescue operations, I had written a post on Thai Cave Rescue CAN happen in India IF. Unfortunately, the Meghalaya miners rescue seemingly is not happening in India.

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