Its been two weeks since the miners are trapped in the coal mine at Ksan, in Saipung area of East Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya. On Wednesday, for the first time in two weeks the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) divers, who have been carrying out the rescue operations have reported about "foul odour".

"That is not a good sign", said Santosh Singh , NDRF Assistant Commandant. NDRF personnel has discussed that the “foul odour” could indicate that the miners are dead and the bodies might have started to decompose. 

The workers, on December 13, were trapped in the ‘rat-hole’ mine  after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it. While the water level in the mine has not receded, the rescue personnel have not made an attempt since Monday to pump out any water, as the two 25-HP pumps have proved to be ineffective. The NDRF has asked the district administration for at least ten 100-HP pumps. The request has been forwarded to the state government, but no action has been taken so far.

The National Green Tribunal in 2014 had banned the ‘rat-hole’ technique of mining. However, it is still a prevalent practice in Meghalaya. Rat-hole mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually 3-4 feet high only, through which workers enter and extract coal. 

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