Trapped Meghalaya miners: Rahul blames Modi, Rijiju hits back (Lead)

Trapped Meghalaya miners: Rahul blames Modi, Rijiju hits back (Lead)
Courtesy "twitter/INCIndia"

New Delhi: While 15 miners continue to remain trapped in a flooded coal mine in Meghalaya for a fortnight now, the issue on Wednesday led to a political slugfest with Rahul Gandhi targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centres ruling BJP accusing the Congress President of politicising a tragedy.

Slamming Modi for not offering necessary help to rescue the trapped miners, Gandhi took to twitter urging the Prime Minister to save the miners.

“15 miners have been struggling for air in a flooded coal mine for two weeks. Meanwhile, Prime Minister struts about on Bogibeel Bridge posing for cameras,” tweeted Gandhi referring to Modi on Tuesday inaugurating a bridge in Assam.

“His government refuses to organise high pressure pumps for the rescue. Prime Minister please save the miners,” added Gandhi tagging a media report stating that the rescue efforts were hampered by lack of effective equipment.

Replying to Gandhi’s tweet, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju blamed the negligence of the previous Congress government for the tragedy.

“No politics on tragedy please, Rahul Gandhi. We have been helping the state government with all possible means. But the unsafe illegal mining activities were due to the negligence of the previous Congress government,” said Rijiju referring to the Congress which ruled the state before the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party came to power in March 2018.

The miners have been trapped in the flooded coal pit in East Jaintia Hills district since December 13. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been struggling to rescue them but the surging water level inside the 370-feet pit has been hampering the rescue efforts.

The NDRF has used a sonar system and an underwater camera to detect the trapped miners. However, the system failed to locate any of those trapped in the main well due to poor visibility.

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