Shillong: On Tuesday, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescuers and Odisha firefighters began dewatering the coal mine in their bid to rescue 15 coal miners trapped in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, an official said.

The miners are trapped inside a flooded coalmine in Ksan village, about 130 from Meghalaya's capital Shillong, for the last 20 days. The dewatering of the coal mine resumed nine days after the district administration had temporarily suspended the pumping out of the water on Saturday last week. The operation was suspended when the two 25 horsepower pumps, which were pressed into service, became ineffective.

Rescue Operations Spokesperson, R Susngi said taht the Odisha firefighters will continue dewatering the coal mine on Wednesday to determine the water level at the main shaft.

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

Chief Minster Conrad Sangma had promised that "appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against the people who are involved in the illegal mining and this is not acceptable to us."

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