Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse: Large diameter pipes, drilling machines arrive at site for evacuation of 40 trapped workers – N.F Times

Uttarkashi: Resucue operations continued for the third day to evacuate 40 workers still trapped inside an underconstruction tunnel that collapsed on Sunday.

Trucks laden with 900 mm diameter pipes started arriving at Silkyara since midnight. A portion of the under construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of November 12.

According to authorities, a platform is being prepared for an auger machine to drill horizontally and insert large diameter MS pipes in between the debris so that the trapped workers can be taken out throught the metal pipes.
Rescuers said that the teams still have to clear about 35 metres of debris more to reach the location of the 40 trapped workers.

The platform for the auger machine has been prepared.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday conducted an on-site inspection of the rescue operations.

“I myself visited the spot and conducted an on-site inspection and am constantly keeping an eye on the rescue operations. Arrangements have been made to send large diameter hume pipes from Haridwar and Dehradun for rescue operations,” Dhami said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also talked to Chief Minister Dhami over the phone and inquired about the 40 workers trapped inside the tunnel.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have also inquired about the worksers with the Uttarakahand Chief Minister.

Uttarkashi Superintendant of Police (SP) Arpan Yaduvanshi on Monday had said it may take one more day to rescue the workers.

He said that out of the 60 metres of debris, over 20 metres of debris had been cleared and they espected to evacuate the 40 people trapped inside by Tuesday night. “All basic amenities including oxygen, food and water are being provided to them through pipes. Family members of the people trapped have also been contacted…” the police official said.

The Silkyara Tunnel is 4531 meters long and is being constructed at a cost of Rs 853.79 crore.

A report from the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) says the tunnel had been breached by 21 metres and rescue efforts are continuing.

“On November 10, 2023, re-profiling work was started from Ch. 260m to Ch. 265m at LHS and for the same patch primary lining works for the same were completed. On November 12, breaking work was started from Ch. 260m to Ch. 263m for the next patch of work and around 5:30 am, early morning collapse occurred from Ch. 205m to 260 meters where re-profiling was completed. 40 workers based on contractor tunnel entry register trapped inside the tunnel,” the report said.

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