One person was arrested for his alleged involvement in operating an illegal coal mine in the state's East Jaintia Hills district where 13 miners have been trapped and feared dead due to flooding.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said: "There is a very difficult and complicated situation. The NDRF teams are trying to save them but it looks very difficult. No matter how many pumps we put, water force is too much to bring it down to a level where we can enter and save them."
"We’re trying really hard but the water level is really high, the day after this incident took place I spoke to Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and requested him to send more professional help," the Meghalaya Chief Minister said.
According to the police, the accused was arrested from his home in Norman Village in the same district on Friday night.
"We have arrested Krip Chulet of Norman village one of the accused persons involved in illegal mining at Ksan area of Lumthari village," the Superintendent of Police (SP) of East Jaintia Hills district, Sylvester Nongtynger, told PTI on Saturday.
Krip was wanted by the police for causing death due to negligence and various sections of the Prevention of Damages to Public Property Act and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, the SP said.
Krip was involved in hiring labourers and overseeing the work and sending them down the 370 ft vertical shaft, a police officer said, adding that the mine was not registered and locals claimed that it had several owners.
James Sukhlain, the prime accused and suspected to be the owner of the illegal coal mine is on the run, the police officer said. His home in Langthari village was raided Friday night.
Meanwhile, efforts to rescue the trapped miners were on even as there was little signs of hope that the water level would subside very soon.
A similar incident took place in western South Garo Hills district in 2012 and the bodies of 14 miners were never recovered.
"It has been over 50 hours without food and water inside the rat-hole mine. There will be very little oxygen as well. I do not think they will survive," a villager said.
Over 60 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel are at the accident site along with a team of State Disaster Response force (SDRF), fire services personnel and the police.
The incident was reported to the district authorities on Thursday morning and rescue efforts have been on since then.
(With Inputs from PTI)