Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: International tunneling expert says 'will not let anyone get hurt' as ops continue

Nov 20, 2023

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and sought details about the ongoing relief and rescue operations of the workers trapped in the under-construction Silkyara tunnel, a portion of which collapsed on November 12 in Uttarkashi, Chief Ministerโ€™s Office said on Monday. The Prime Minister said that the necessary rescue equipment and resources are being provided by the Central Government. The rescue operation entered its day 9 today as efforts to bring the 41 workers trapped in the debris are underway.

โ€œThe workers will be evacuated safely with mutual coordination between central and state agencies. There is a need to maintain the morale of the stranded workers,โ€ the CMO said.

Heavy machines arrived at Silkyara tunnel as a rescue operation to bring out the stranded victims is underway this morning.

International Tunneling Expert arrives at the site

President of International Tunneling Underground Space Professor, Arnold Dix arrived at Silkyara tunnel and offered prayers at a temple that is built at the main entrance of the tunnel. He lauded the operations underway and said that the work being done is "systematic" and all those trapped will be taken out.

"We are going to get those men out. Great work is being done here. Our whole team is here and we are going to find a solution and get them out. A lot of work is being done here. It is important that not only the men rescued but also the men who are rescuing are safe. The whole world is helping. The team here is fantastic. The plans are looking fantastic. The work is very systematic. The food and the medication are being provided properly," Dix said.

Detailing the technicalities of the rescue operation, Dix said that things are looking very positive but will have to compare the outer and inner situations. He further ensured that none of the 41 trapped workers will get hurt while carrying out the rescue operation.

"It is looking good, but we have to decide whether it is actually good or is it a trap. It is looking very positive as we have the best experts in Himalayan geology with me. We need to compare what we have seen here above the tunnel with what we know is happening inside the tunnel. We are rescuing those 41 men and we will not let anyone get hurt while doing it. It is like any complex job where we have to look all around, from the top to bottom. The team here is so focussed on the rescue and so focussed that no one else gets hurt. At the moment, it is looking positive. We are all one team and the whole world is with us..." he said.