The rescue team achieved a breakthrough around 1:10 pm at Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarkashi, and the workers are expected to come out shortly, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said. Ambulances and a medical team have arrived at the spot to rush the 41 trapped workers.
Rat-hole mining experts were brought in to assist in the rescue efforts for 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel. They initiated manual drilling through the rubble on Monday. Meanwhile, vertical drilling from above the tunnel has reached a depth of 50 meters and 36 metres are left.
A team of twelve rat-hole mining experts conducted manual drilling and excavation horizontally across the final 10- to 12-metre stretch of debris in the collapsed section of the tunnel.
Nodal Officer for the Silkyara rescue operation and Secretary to the Uttarakhand government, Neeraj Khairwal informed that if there are no more hurdles, the rescuers are anticipating an early evacuation of the trapped labourers.
He said, “As of now, we have pushed 55.3 metres of the pipe. This includes clearing of the rubble as well as laying the pipe. Only a little more distance remains. It might be somewhere between 57-59 metres. It might take a few more hours if there are no more hurdles. By evening we are hoping. Let’s pray and hope for the best”.
Meanwhile, Officials said the workers will be taken to a hospital in Uttarkashi after being rescued where a special ward with 41 beds has been set up for them.
The under-construction tunnel is part of the ambitious Char Dham project, a national infrastructure initiative to enhance connectivity to the Hindu pilgrimage sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.