The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has not abandoned the operations for the rescue of 12 miners trapped in an illegal coal mine flooded with water in Meghalaya saying that it was still hoping for a "miracle" to happen.
Since December 13, 2018, 15 miners have been trapped inside a 370 feet flooded coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district.
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"We have not abandoned the rescue operation", Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice S Abdul Nazeer after senior counsel Anand Grover asserted that the administration was "abandoning" the operations.
"They are abandoning the whole process," Grover appearing for PIL petitioner Aditya N Prasad told the bench.
Solicitor General Mehta objected to Grover telling the court that the administration can't have a "lackadaisical" approach to carrying out the rescue operations.
In its status report of the rescue operations since January 7, the Advocate General of the Meghalaya government Amit Kumar said that in January the Navy detected one body at a depth of 210 feet.
The identity of this miner could not be ascertained as he was lying prostrate with his head downward and the flesh on his skull had already started to decompose.
The court was told that in the opinion of the Navy, if the body of the miner is pulled further, there would be disintegration of different parts, rendering the same virtually impossible to retrieve.
The Navy has already "suspended" its operation to retrieve the body of the miner.
The court directed further hearing next week as both the Centre and the Meghalaya government said that rescue operations would continue.
The Supreme Court had in the last hearing on January 11 asked what action has been taken against the owner of the illegal coal mine.
"What you have done against the person who was indulging in illegal mining? What about the officials who were conniving in the illegal mining," the court had asked both the Centre and the Meghalaya government.