Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Day 6: Working overnight with a powerful machine, rescue workers drilled 25 metres through the rubble in Silkyara tunnel, inching closer to the 40 labourers trapped there for five days. The workers need to drill up to 60 metres to insert 800 mm and 900 mm diameter pipes- one after the other- with the help of a giant drill machine till an escape passage is created for the labourers stuck behind the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel, NHIDCL Director Anshu Manish Khalkho said.
The labourers have been trapped since Sunday morning (November 12) when a part of the tunnel collapsed following a landslide.
"Drilling has been done up to 25 metres so far," the state emergency operation centre's control room in Silkyara said. The stretch where debris is accumulated begins 270 metres from the mouth of the tunnel at Silkyara side.
Uttarkashi District Magistrate Abhishek Ruhela said that the trapped workers are safe and being supplied with oxygen, medicines, and food and water through pipes. Constant communication is being maintained with them to keep up their morale, he said.
VK Singh on Uttarkashi Tunnel collapse:
Union Minister of State of Road Transport and Highways VK Singh took stock of the operation on Thursday and said that the government and all its agencies are making all efforts to complete within two to three days to rescue 40 workers trapped inside the collapsed under-construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.
"Government, all its agencies and experts with whom we can communicate--the efforts of all of us are aimed at rescuing the workers at the earliest. I have spoken with them and their morale is high. They understand that all efforts are being made for them and we are weighing all options to rescue them," Singh told reporters in Uttarkashi.
The tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of November 12. He further said that the labourers were confined in a small space of about 2 kilometres in the debris and they were sending in food and water and oxygen via a pipe to the trapped workers.
"Our priority is to rescue them sooner. Efforts are being made for this. All the agencies are putting effort into this. A new machine is working, whose power and speed are better than the old machine. Our effort is to complete this rescue operation within two to three days. We are also taking the help of international experts. They know that the government is working to rescue them," the minister said.
(With agencies inputs)