Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Trapped workers receive essential supplies via 4-inch compressor pipeline

| Updated: 21 November, 2023 12:06 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse, the local administration is engaged in a relentless rescue operation to save the lives of 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel. The local authorities are currently constructing a vertical rescue tunnel at the site to extricate the workers safely.

Underscoring their commitment to preserving lives, the government is ensuring constant communication and morale support for the trapped workers within the two-kilometre portion of the tunnel.

“The government is keeping constant communication and making all efforts to keep up the morale of the workers trapped in the 2 km-built tunnel portion.  This 2 km portion of tunnel is complete including concrete work that provides safety to the workers.

Electricity and water are available in this portion of the tunnel and workers are also provided food items and medicines through a 4-inch compressor pipeline,” the local administration said in a statement.

Various government agencies, including National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC), are collaborating on the rescue operation.

Here are the major updates on the construction of the vertical rescue tunnel:

– Horizontal boring by NHIDCL from Silkyara end resumes for worker rescue through an Augur boring machine.

– The first machine of SJVNL for the vertical rescue tunnel construction has reached the site, with operations beginning after the completion of the access road by Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

– Construction of a 480-metre rescue tunnel from Barkot end by THDC is underway.

– RVNL is mobilising machinery for micro-tunnelling through horizontal drilling, and ONGC is bringing in machinery for vertical boring.

– BRO has commendably constructed an approach road for vertical drilling within 48 hours, facilitating RVNL and SJVNL operations, with work continuing for ONGC’s approach road.

The collapse occurred on November 12, in an under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot. The state and central government promptly mobilised resources for the rescue of the 41 trapped labourers.

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After initially planning to lay a 900mm pipe through the muck, ground movement on Friday made it unsafe to continue, prompting simultaneous efforts for a swift and safe rescue.

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