Uttarakhand CM visits site of tunnel collapse, rescue ops continue to save trapped 36 workers

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Uttarkashi , Nov 13, 2023, IANS

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday reached Silkyara to inspect the site where a portion of an under-construction tunnel on the Yamunotri National Highway collapsed on Sunday, leaving at least 36 workers trapped.

The Chief Minister also took stock of the rescue efforts.

The efforts to remove debris and rescue the trapped workers in the Silkyara Tunnel are underway. Heavy excavator machines have been deployed to remove debris.

The rescuers have established contact with the trapped workers on walkie-talkies and all the workers are safe. Authorities are sending the workers food and water through the pipe.

Authorities said a narrow opening has been made to pass oxygen into the tunnel as personnel of several teams work on to rescue the trapped workers. 

The under-construction tunnel of the Navayuga company from Silkyara to Dandalgaon on the Yamunotri National Highway collapsed at 5 a.m. on Sunday. 

At least 36 labourers are trapped in the tunnel, and they have been stuck for more than 30 hours. 

Rescue efforts by personnel from multiple agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), fire brigade, have been going on since Sunday morning.

According to the information, the accident happened at a distance of 200 meters from the tunnel entrance towards Silkyara, while the workers were 2,800 meters inside the entrance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also spoken to the Chief Minister on the phone and has been briefed about the entire incident. 

PM Modi has assured all possible assistance.

Additionally, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Abhishek Ruhela has cancelled the leaves of all officials in the district. Continuous efforts are underway to safely evacuate all workers.

The tunnel is a part of the Char Dham project and is supposed to connect Silkyara to Dangal Gaon, reducing the distance between the two places by at least 25 kms when completed. 

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