Uttarakhand, an under-construction tunnel connecting Silkyara to Dandalgaon collapsed on November 12, 2023, between 6 to 7 am. The tunnel, a part of the Char Dham Road Project, was meant to reduce the travel distance from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri Dham by 26 kilometers.
As a result of the collapse, at least 36 workers were trapped inside the tunnel, a massive rescue operation led by the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), and local police.
The incident occurred around 4 am, when a 150-meter section of the four-and-a-half-kilometer-long tunnel caved in, leaving the workers stranded approximately 270 meters deep from the Silkayara side. The tunnel’s total depth measures 2340 meters, presenting a challenge for the rescue teams.
The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, has been actively involved in overseeing the rescue efforts.
In a statement, he expressed his concern and stated, “I have been in contact with the officials from the time I got to know about the incident. NDRF and SDRF are at the spot.
We pray to God for the safe return of everybody.” Efforts to rescue the trapped workers are being coordinated with a sense of urgency.
The SDRF and NDRF teams, along with local police, are on-site, deploying vertical drilling machines to cut through the debris. However, officials have cautioned that the evacuation might take 2-3 days to complete.
Authorities have conveyed that all workers are reported to be safe and have access to oxygen cylinders. An opening has been created to insert an oxygen pipe into the tunnel, providing additional oxygen to the trapped laborers.
According to Devendra Patwal, the district’s disaster management officer, the workers have a buffer space of around 400 meters inside the tunnel, allowing them to move and breathe.
He reassured, “They have enough oxygen to easily survive for over 8-10 hours, and that should give us enough time to rescue them.”
The tunnel collapse has a massive mobilization of resources, including ambulances, to the accident site. The workers from the eastern states of Bihar and Jharkhand, were inside the tunnel when the collapse occurred.
The circumstances leading to the collapse are yet to be determined, with rescue operations taking over investigations.
Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police, Arpan Yaduvanshi, explained the ongoing relief and rescue efforts, stating, “We will soon rescue all the people safely.”
The rescue operation involves clearing nearly 200 meters of debris to open the tunnel and evacuation of the trapped workers.
The tunnel, part of the Char Dham all-weather road project, was an infrastructure aimed at enhancing connectivity in the region. Its completion was anticipated by February, but the collapse has thrown the timeline into uncertainty.
The tragedy has gained national attention, with news agencies providing continuous updates on the rescue operations.
The efforts of the SDRF, NDRF, and local authorities underscore the importance of a swift and well-coordinated response to such emergencies.
The focus remains on the safe evacuation of the trapped workers. The use of vertical drilling machines, oxygen supply, and other technical measures reflects the multi-faceted approach adopted by the rescue teams.
As the nation awaits news of the workers’ safe return, prayers and support pour in from all quarters. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami expressed his concern and involvement in the ongoing rescue efforts.
Chief Minister Dhami stated, “I have been in contact with the officials from the time I got to know about the incident. NDRF and SDRF are at the spot. We pray to God for the safe return of everybody.”
The chief minister said that all necessary resources, including the NDRF and SDRF, are actively engaged in the rescue mission.
Vertical drilling machines are being arranged to clearing of debris, and oxygen supply remains a top priority. Rescue operations challenges due to the considerable amount of debris blocking the tunnel.
Photos from the site depict piles of concrete obstructing the passage, making it a task for rescue teams to reach the trapped workers.
The tunnel, a part of the Char Dham all-weather road project, holds strategic significance in connecting key regions. Its completion was expected by February, adding urgency to the rescue operation.
Top Sources Related to Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: 36 Workers Feared Trapped (For R&D)
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