November 24, 2023
NEW DELHI – Rescue teams involved in the Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel rescue operation have successfully removed the steel pipe that was obstructing the remaining 12 meters of drilling and will now push the 900 mm pipes 6 more meters inside the rubble.
Once that is completed, only 6 more meters of drilling will be left to reach the 41 construction workers who are trapped inside the collapsed tunnel since November 12.
Giving details about the rescue mission, former advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, Bhaskar Khulbe today said, “I am happy to tell you the entire steel that was obstructing the free movement of the pipe inside has now been removed. We are trying to move 6 metres ahead of the 45-metre mark that we have already reached. During drilling last night, an iron metal had come in, due to which the work was stopped. We hope that there will be no more obstructions in our way ahead…”
Earlier last night, Mr Khulbe had said that the rescue work will be completed by 8 am in the morning as only 12 meters of drilling was left. However, steel pipes obstructed the drilling and NDRF teams had to cut them. This delayed the operation by a few more hours.
Meanwhile, ambulances have been deployed to the site to ferry the trapped workers to the hospital when they are brought out.
A 41-bed hospital has been set up at a Community Health Centre in Chinyalisaur for medical examination and care of trapped workers after they are evacuated from Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.
Teams of NDRF have already entered the tunnel to extract the trapped workers once drilling is completed.
Last night, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also visited the spot to take stock of the situation. Dhami had said that safe rescue of the trapped workers is his government’s priority and equipment sent by the Centre have fast-tracked the rescue operation.
As many as 41 construction workers are trapped in a 400-meter buffer zone of the unfinished Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi since November 12 when a portion of it collapsed following a landslide. The tunnel project is part of the Chardham all-weather road.