New Delhi, November 14, 2016: As per media reports, all 40 labourers, who trapped inside a collapsed under-construction tunnel on the Brahmkhal-Yamunotri national highway in Uttarakhand, were safe and communication was being maintained with them through walkie-talkie sets. Food and oxygen supplies are being ensured to them.
According to the news published in The Tribune, rescue operations continued for the third consecutive day on Tuesday to save 40 workers.
Authorities said all trapped labourers were safe and communication was being maintained with them through walkie-talkie sets. Food and oxygen supplies are being ensured to them.
The workers were constructing the tunnel when a landslide caused a part of it to cave in on Sunday morning.
The rescue operation involves drilling the tunnel with heavy machinery to insert 900-mm diameter steel pipe sections, one after the other, through the debris-blocked area and create an escape passage for the workers who can then crawl to safety.
Five engineers of the Uttarakhand Irrigation Department are already at the site, helping lay the pipes and provide technical assistance. A total of 160 relief workers have been deployed.
A temporary helipad has been established five kilometre from the site. The Uttarakhand Government today acknowledged that rubble, which continues to fall from upper sections of the tunnel, was hampering rescue work with experts now recommending installation of steel pipes through the debris to evacuate the workers. The 4.5-km tunnel, a part of the Centre’s highway project to enhance connectivity to pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand, collapsed around 8.45 am on Sunday in Uttarkashi district.
The authorities said 15 trapped labourers were from Jharkhand, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five from Odisha, four from Bihar, three from West Bengal, two each from Uttarakhand and Assam, and one from Himachal Pradesh. Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Dhami reviewed the ongoing rescue efforts and briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation.
The Chief Minister’s office said th” preparations for rescuing the labourers were in the final stages, with a team of specialists, engineers and necessary equipment at the site. Meanwhile, a high-level expert committee, chaired by the Director of the Uttarakhand Landslide Mitigation and Management Centre, was set up today. It initiated investigation into the cause of the landslide.
Various types of drilling machines have been provided at the site. Outside the tunnel, three poclain machines, two JCB earthmovers, six trucks, one hydra crane and two loaders have been deployed. Inside the tunnel, three shotcrete machines, two boomers, two hydra cranes and two trucks are operational.
The site is located between Dharasu and Barkot on the Yamunotri NH. The length of the tunnel is 4,531m. Around 2,340m tunnel has been constructed from the Silkyara end and 1,600m has been built from the Dandalgaon end. A 30m portion collapsed 270m from the Silkyara end.
Gabbar Singh Negi, one of the 40 labourers trapped in the tunnel, spoke to his son on Tuesday. “I was allowed to speak to my father for a few seconds using the pipe through which oxygen is being supplied to the stranded workers,” Akash Singh Negi said.