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Geo-physicists conduct survey at coal mine accident site in Meghalaya

 SHILLONG, Jan 14 (IANS): A team of scientists from National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) on Monday conducted an electrical resistivity tomography survey in Meghalaya's Ksan area where 15 miners are trapped inside a 370-ft flooded coal mine for one month now.

On the other hand, Coal India Limited, Kirloskar Brothers Limited and Odisha firefighters continued dewatering the abandoned shafts near the main shaft where the miners have been trapped since December 13.

But the fate of the miners remains unknown.

"We have conducted the electrical resistivity tomography survey to determine the resistivity distribution of the subsurface in terms of soil characteristics, rock type, underground water and geological structure," Senior Scientist at CSIR-NGRI, Dr Dewashish Kumar told IANS.

He said the team will continue with the survey on Tuesday and then will submit its findings to the CSIR-NGRI Director.

A team of experts from Chennai-based Planys Technologies, which is engaged in developing niche underwater robotic inspection equipment, arrived at the accident mining site and operated the submersible robotic inspection in one of the abandoned coal mines, Rescue Operations spokesperson, Reginald Susngi told IANS.

Last month, Indian Navy divers have sought dewatering the flooded mine so that the divers could dive in to the bottom of the 370-ft deep coal pit.

Susngi said Coal India Limited which measurement of the water level in the abandoned mines have reported that the water level had not receded in spite of several lakh gallons of water having been dewatered from the shafts.

The accident inside the coal pit on December 13 was of significance, especially because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in the state from April 17, 2014.

The tragedy came to light after five miners escaped the coal pit.

The Supreme Court, monitoring the rescue operations, has directed the government that the trapped miners have to be taken out of the coal mine whether "dead or alive".

More than 200 rescuers are taking part in the rescue operations.

Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known as "rat hole mining".

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