Uttarkashi, Nov. 27 : The government has launched rescue operations at the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi, employing all available resources to save the lives of 41 trapped workers. With a focused effort on the 2 km section of the tunnel, authorities are leaving no stone unturned in their mission.
Multiple government agencies as per Kashmir Despatch are working tirelessly, each assigned specific tasks to ensure the successful evacuation of the workers.
A team of national and international experts is also on-site, providing invaluable guidance for the rescue operation. The government is maintaining constant communication to uplift the spirits of those trapped in the tunnel.
Exciting Updates on the Rescue Operations:
- Lifeline Efforts by NHIDCL:
The workers inside the tunnel are being provided with freshly cooked food and fresh fruits at regular intervals through a dedicated lifeline service. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has established video communication with the workers, while the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has set up a direct line for effective coordination.
- Progress in Horizontal Boring by NHIDCL:
Auger drilling operations have commenced, addressing various challenges encountered along the way. Gas cutters were used to remove obstructions, ensuring the steady progress of the drilling. The team is currently working on clearing the last few meters to access the other side. Additionally, false ribs have been erected to protect the operational area.
- Vertical Drilling Rescue by SJVNL:
Drilling machinery has arrived at the site and a platform for launching the drilling machine has been completed. The drilling point has been identified in consultation with experts, and drilling has already begun, making significant progress towards the rescue mission.
- Horizontal Drilling from Barkot Side by THDCL:
THDC has taken on the responsibility of constructing a rescue tunnel from the Barkot end. Several successful blasts have been conducted, resulting in a considerable length of drift being completed. The fabrication of ribs, crucial for the tunnel’s stability, is also well underway.
- Perpendicular-Horizontal Drilling by RVNL:
Essential equipment for micro-tunneling has been transported to the site, paving the way for horizontal drilling. The construction of the platform is also in progress, indicating significant advancement towards the laborers’ rescue.
- Vertical Drilling by RVNL at Silkyara end:
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed a 1150-meter access road and provided electric connections to RVNL. The drilling process has begun and has already reached an impressive depth, contributing significantly to the rescue efforts.
- Vertical Drilling Toward Barkot End by ONGC:
ONGC’s drilling team has reached the site, accompanied by an air drilling rig. Necessary preparations are being made by the BRO to ensure a smooth drilling process.
- Drift Tunnel by Joint Team of THDC, Army, Coal India, and NHIDCL:
The drift tunnel design has been finalized, and fabrication work is underway. The joint effort by THDC, Army, Coal India, and NHIDCL is progressing well, with a considerable number of frames already fabricated.
- Road Cutting and Supportive Work by BRO:
BRO has successfully constructed approach roads for vertical drilling by SJVNL and RVNL. Geological surveys have also been conducted by ONGC for their approach road, with significant progress achieved so far.
The rescue operations were prompted by a tunnel collapse on 12th November 2023, when debris obstructed a 60-meter stretch on the Silkyara side. The State and Central Governments swiftly mobilized resources to save the trapped workers, exploring various rescue options simultaneously. Fortunately, the workers were trapped in a built-up portion of the tunnel, with access to electricity and water supply, ensuring their safety.
ONGC, SJVNL, RVNL, NHIDCL, and THDCL have collaborated closely, each assigned specific responsibilities. Task adjustments have been made as necessary to streamline operations and maximize efficiency.