Officials said on Monday that a 6-inch pipe had been installed in the collapsed tunnel, where 41 workers have been trapped for nine days. This happened when international tunneling expert Arnold Dix of the Geneva-based International Tunneling and Underground Space Association joined efforts to review and guide the rescue operations.
“We have achieved our first breakthrough, for which we were striving for the last nine days and this was our first priority. A 6-inch pipe has been installed and they (trapped workers) can hear us through it. Now we will provide them with food and medical supplies through that pipe,” Anshu Manish Khalkho, director, NHIDCL, said, according to PTI.
Video | Uttarkashi Tunnel Incident: “We have achieved our first breakthrough, for which we were striving for the last nine days and this was our first priority. A 6-inch pipe has been installed and they (trapped workers) are helping us through it.” Can hear. We will now provide them food and… pic.twitter.com/gfww1hlLE8
– Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) 20 November 2023
“A six-inch pipe has been laid in the tunnel through which various food items will be sent to the stranded workers and it will also provide better ventilation facilities there,” he told PTI.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to assess the rescue operation of 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel.
Emphasizing the importance of maintaining the morale of workers, PM Modi stressed the Centre’s commitment to providing necessary rescue equipment and resources.
PM Modi received detailed information on the operation in his third conversation with CM Dhami regarding the tunnel rescue, PTI reported. CM Dhami assured the PM that all stranded workers are safe with continuous supply of oxygen, nutritious food and water. Various agencies are cooperating under expert guidance to ensure safe evacuation.
International tunneling expert Arnold Dix expressed optimism about the safe evacuation of the trapped workers, praising the ongoing efforts. He highlighted the extensive preparations made for the evacuation. Although no specific timeline was provided, according to PTI, Dix stressed the commitment to ensure the safety of both the trapped workers and rescue teams.
Notably, CM Dhami announced that the Uttarakhand government will bear the travel, food and lodging expenses of the relatives of the stranded workers. He assured the families of speedy rescue and directed officials to maintain regular communication with them. Psychiatric help has been taken to maintain the morale of the stranded workers.
The Silkyara Tunnel, part of the Char Dham All Weather Road, collapsed on November 12, trapping 41 workers under a huge pile of debris. Rescue operations are underway, with medical teams and a team from the Prime Minister’s Office actively involved in monitoring the efforts.