Uttarakhand tunnel rescue update: Senior official promises significant news in 24 hours

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 November, 2023 4:43 pm IST
Rscue workers at Uttarkashi (Photo from Social Media)

NEW DELHI: Rescue workers from five public sector agencies ONGC, SJVNL, RVNL, NHIDCL, and THDCL have said that they expect “some big news” over the next 24 hours in the Uttarkashi tunnel operations in Uttarakhand, on Wednesday.

The workers have been toiling for over 11 days to rescue the 41 labourers stuck inside Uttarakhand’s partially collapsed tunnel in Uttarkashi. Additional Secretary Technical, Road and Transport, Mahmood Ahmed had told the media outlet that “some big news” was expected as an additional 880-millimeter pipe had been pushed several metres into the rubble.

Ahmed added that the rescue workers had pushed three pipes into the debris. However, he also said that the authorities would have to reach 40 to 50 metres inside the tunnel, to provide exact time frame of the rescue.

“We started drilling using auger machine at 12:45 am and I am happy to share that we have drilled 39 metres and also inserted pipe of 800mm. We are progressing well. We are also doing horizontal drilling from Barkot side and have entered till 7.9 metres,” Ahmed told Hindustan Times.

The Additional Secretary reflected on his relief at having an iron rod extracted alongside the debris. “It is a matter of happiness that this iron in the middle of laying the pipeline did not create any problems for us,” he said.

The partially collapsed tunnel that was connecting Silkyara to Barkot had collapsed on November 12, whereupon, on Tuesday, rescue workers had inserted an endoscopic camera into the tunnel through which the first visuals of the workers were transmitted out.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has also said that the workers will be rescued soon, stating, “The auger machine is working and we hope that all our worker brothers will be out safely soon.”

Presently, the rescue teams have been drilling in two directions.

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