'Rat hole mining technique’ will now be used to bolster efforts to rescue the 41 workers trapped in the Uttarakhand tunnel.
Rat hole mining, used in challenging terrains, involves digging small holes that fit only one person.
The rat miners are tasked with manually clearing debris that blocks the rescue. The group will carry tools and life support devices.
Rat hole mining requires people to fit into tight, dark and usually dangerous pits. At least 23 deaths have been reported since 2018.
The National Green Tribunal banned the practice in Meghalaya in 2014, saying that it was ‘unscientific.’ No safety concerns were raised.
The NGT cited ‘ecological and environmental damage,’ caused by the technique. It was called major source of air, water and soil pollution.
It is majorly used while extracting and mining coal deposits. While it is banned, illegal rat hole mining is reportedly rampant in Meghalaya.