The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and Meghalaya government to continue their efforts to rescue miners whose whereabouts remain unknown after they were trapped inside a rat-hole coal mine in the state since December 13, 2018.

The two-judge bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer scheduled the next hearing for February 4.

Till now, decomposed bodies of two workers have been recovered from inside the illegal coal mine in Ksan.

On January 17, the Navy detected the first body while the second was detected 280 feet inside the mine on January 24.

The apex court had recently expressed “dissatisfaction” with the manner in which the Meghalaya government conducted the rescue operations.

Terming it a “serious issue,” the court added that ‘every second counts for those trapped in the mine and that it is a question of life and death,’ and also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to look into the matter urgently.

The court is hearing a PIL seeking its intervention in the matter. The court has also sought status reports from the Centre and the state government on the status of the operations.