Rescuers involved in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation are battling against time to evacuate 41 construction workers who have been trapped under debris for nearly 200 hours following a tunnel collapse.
The prolonged confinement of workers inside the Uttarkashi tunnel is raising serious concerns about their well-being, while leaving their families in distress as drilling operations to create an escape passage for the workers trapped at the Silkyara tunnel collapse site were halted on Sunday.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has reportedly taken control of rescue operations. The PMO issued a statement late on Saturday, indicating the Centre’s commitment to saving the lives of the trapped labourers.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, overseeing the rescue efforts, stated that a large diameter pipeline is being pushed through the rubble to provide essential supplies to the trapped workers.
The trapped workers are continually supplied with oxygen, electricity, food, water, and medicines. Multivitamins, antidepressants, and dry fruits are also being provided.
An American auger machine brought as a replacement had to be stopped on Friday due to hitting a hard surface. Gadkari mentioned that horizontal drilling remains the “best option,” and if the machine encounters no obstacles, it may reach the workers in approximately two-and-a-half days.
The rescue operation is the top priority, and efforts are underway to restart the auger machine and resume drilling. Gadkari stressed that multiple options, including vertical and horizontal drilling, are being considered simultaneously.