Efforts to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand have intensified, with a focus on horizontal drilling using auger machines, reports Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). . “Our focused efforts are on horizontal drilling through the auger machine which has been brought from outside,” Lt Gen Hasnain said.
In a significant development, the first photographs of the stranded workers emerged on Tuesday, giving hope to their families. The visuals, captured using an endoscopic camera sent through a six-inch pipeline, show workers wearing yellow and white helmets. The camera was inserted amidst the debris of the broken part of the tunnel on Char Dham Marg.
At a media briefing, Hasnain said, “A 4-inch pipe was available, so we had a lifeline for the people inside through which ration, medicine and other essentials to survive were brought to that location through the compressor.” Were transported to where these workers are.”
Lieutenant General Hasnain reassured the public about the conditions inside the tunnel, saying, “There is enough water, oxygen, electricity and light inside the tunnel.” Families of some of the stranded workers have been evacuated to the site, and communication has been established with the workers through an existing four-inch pipe.
Various agencies including National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Army Engineers, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), fire and emergency services, Border Roads Organization (BRO) are involved in the rescue operation. . Other technical agencies of the Government of India. He stressed that international experts are also on site to provide advice.
Officials are rehearsing on site to deal with any contingency and plans are underway to send equipment for better communication with the stranded workers.
Lieutenant General Hasnain highlighted that the interior of the tunnel provides ample space for about 2 km, removing the perception of a cramped environment. He further said, “Fortunately the power grid line was not cut, so there is light available inside.”
Stranded workers from various states are in touch with their families through the existing communication infrastructure, providing some relief to worried relatives. As the operation enters its 10th day, rescue teams continue their multi-pronged efforts.