Families of some of the miners who got trapped in a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya four months ago have told the state government that they have no objection if the rescue operation is stopped, The Shillong Times reported on Tuesday. At least 15 miners had gone missing in the mine, located in East Jaintia Hills district.

The state’s Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Kyrmen Shylla said the state was waiting for letters from the remaining families before it moves the Supreme Court to stop the operation. Shylla told the daily that new water pumps had been deployed to help drain the caves and aid the operation.

Shylla also said that the state government was taking all the measures possible to crack down on illegal mining in the state.

The ongoing operation involves personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and the Indian Navy.

On January 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Meghalaya government to continue their multi-agency operations to rescue the miners.

In March, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said his government will request the court for permission to stop the operation, which had cost Rs 2.5 crore till then. “The Supreme Court has been very clear that we cannot stop the operations to retrieve the bodies,” Sangma had told PTI.