Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: The rescue operation to save 40 trapped workers continues after the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of November 12.
3. Officials started preparing to drill a vertical hole on Saturday from the top of the hill where 41 workers have been stuck inside a collapsed tunnel for seven days with little access to food and communication in a desperate attempt to beat the running clock.
4. Bhaskar Khulbe, former advisor to the prime minister and now OSD in the Uttarakhand government, said in Silkyara that concerted efforts would produce good results in four-five days. “But if the gods are kind enough, it could happen even earlier than that,” he said as quoted by PTI.
5. Earlier on Saturday, Former Prime Minister Office (PMO) advisor Bhaskar Khulbe said that teams deployed at the Silkyara tunnel require a coordinated action for the rescue operation which is underway at the site adding that multiple options are being explored to save their lives. Speaking to ANI, Bhaskar Khulbe said, “We are exploring as many options as possible to rescue workers. It is our priority to reach those who are stuck for days here. We don’t lack any resources, options and ideas, we just need some coordinated action and we are trying to make teams and reach there somehow.”
6. The Silkyara tunnel, about 30 km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi and a seven-hour drive from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, is part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the central government. It is being constructed under the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
7. Last Sunday, the under-construction tunnel collapsed roughly at around 5.30 a.m. Since then, families waiting outside became more and more desperate as the week went on and the hours passed.
8. Worries were increased by the fact that rescue efforts had been put on hold since Friday afternoon due to an issue with an American-made auger machine that was being used to drill and insert pipes through the debris to provide a way out for the workers.
9. The Union government also held a high-level meeting on Saturday where the five options to rescue the workers were discussed with different agencies assigned with specific alternatives to work on, sources told PTI. NHIDCL MD Mahmood Ahmed has been made in-charge for coordination with all the central agencies and has been stationed in Silkyara, they added.
10. Yesterday, CM Dhami held a meeting with officials at his residence in Dehradun for an update on the crisis. He expressed the hope that the state-of-the-art machines manufactured in the country and abroad will be successful in rescuing the labourers.
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