The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the state government to call of the operation to retrieve the miners stuck in an illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya since last December, PTI reported.

As many as 15 miners were trapped in the coal mine on December 13 last year. About 200 personnel from the Navy, National Disaster Response Force, Coal India, and Kirloskar Brothers Limited took part in the rescue effort. However, only two bodies have so far been recovered from the mine.

A bench of Justices SA Bobde and BR Gavai passed Friday’s order while hearing a petition seeking urgent steps to rescue the miners trapped in the rat-hole mine. Senior advocate Anand Grover told the court that Meghalaya has filed an application seeking permission to call off the operation.

“We are not opposing it,” Grover, appearing for the petitioner, told the court. “Now we are no longer on the issue of operation.” Instead, he said, there should be a standard operating procedure for such exigencies. The bench said it will address the matter of standard operating procedure after four weeks.

In March, the bench had ordered the petitioner to “ascertain from the relatives of the deceased if they wish to have the bodies recovered having regard to the fact that they may be already in a completely decomposed condition”.