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Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: 5-pronged action plan to be adopted for rescue ops


New Delhi: Five government agencies, including ONGC, SJVNL, and RVNL, have been pushed into action to try different options to rescue the 40 trapped workers at Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, road, transport and highways secretary Anurag Jain said on Sunday.

The government has decided to work on all fronts to save the lives of the labourers trapped in the tunnel at Silkyara, Jain said in a video brief. β€œIn a high-level meeting today, various options were examined based on technical advice and 5 options are to be pursued,” he said.

The secretary said efforts were being made to insert more pipes in the area so that food, water, and essential supplies are maintained till space is created to rescue the trapped.

The place where the workers are trapped is a secure tunnel space of almost 2 km with proper lighting. The pipes along the tunnel walls during construction are now being used to supply food and medicines and maintain airflow.

National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC) and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) have been assigned one option each for the rescue.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the construction wing of the Indian Army have also been assisting in the rescue operation, he said.

While ONGC will look at drilling a deep vertical hole to see if trapped workers can be reached and rescued from the top, SJVNL, which has the capability for shallow drilling will drill a hole that could act as additional support for providing food and medicine support inside the tunnel. NHIDCL MD has been made in charge of coordination with all the central agencies and has been stationed in Silkyara, Jain said.

Besides the five options being tried by the five agencies, another plan was being considered to make a canopy around the area in the tunnel, Jain said.

Meanwhile, road minister Nitin Gadkari and Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reached the scene to review the ongoing rescue and relief operation.

The under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of 12 November.

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Updated: 19 Nov 2023, 05:24 PM IST



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