The workers were taken to Hemant Soren's residence in a special bus
A grand welcome with traditional 'dhol and nagaras' was accorded to the 15 Jharkhand workers, who were rescued from Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi along with 26 others, on their arrival here on Friday night.
Cutting across party lines, leaders and workers from the BJP, Congress, JMM, CPI, etc, were seen at Birsa Munda airport welcoming the workers and their 12 family members, who were flown to Ranchi from Delhi.
State Labour Minister Satyanand Bhokta who received the workers at the airport said, "A big mission has been accomplished. The government will extend all help to them." The workers were taken to Chief Minister Hemant Soren's residence in a special bus where an interaction with him is scheduled.
"All the 15 workers, their 12 family members and state government officials who were camping in Uttarkashi reached Birsa Munda Airport. They will meet the CM," state labour secretary Rajesh Kumar Sharma told PTI.
"A dinner has been planned for them at circuit house. They will be staying there tonight. Tomorrow they will be sent to their respective villages. If those from Ranchi and Khunti want to go to their families tonight, we will send them today," Sharma said.
On their health check-up, the official said AIIMS Rishikesh had already kept them under observation for 24 hours.
BJP MP Deepak Prakash was also at the airport to welcome the workers. "It is a matter of great joy that our family members reached Ranchi. The success of the operation is credited to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and central agencies," Prakash said.
JMM MP Mahua Maji said, "We are happy that our workers returned safe. The Centre should ensure that workers' interests are protected in critical projects." CPI-ML legislator Vinod Singh demanded safety measures for workers.
A three-member team from the state had rushed to the spot soon after the tunnel collapse on Diwali.
On Wednesday, Jharkhand labour secretary Rajesh Kumar Sharma had said as soon as the workers are released from the hospital, the government will fly them from Dehradun to Delhi and then to Ranchi.
The 41 workers, belonging to Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam, were rescued from the collapsed tunnel in Uttarkashi after a gruelling 17-day operation.
In Khirabeda, on the outskirts of Ranchi, family members of Rajendra, Sukhram and Anil, all in their early twenties, are waiting with bated breath for their arrival.
Sukhram's sister Khushboo told PTI that they will celebrate Diwali when they return. The mood in the nondescript village has turned festive.
Khirabeda village saw a total of 13 people going to Uttarkashi on November 1 in search of greener pastures. Little did they know what fate had in store for them. Luckily, only three of the 13 from Khirabeda were inside the tunnel when the disaster struck.
Besides three from Khirabeda, other workers hail from Giridih, Khunti and West Singhbhum, where people have erupted in joy after the trapped workers were rescued on Tuesday evening.
In Singhbhum, the families of the six rescued workers are eagerly awaiting a reunion.
For all barring one - Bhaktu Murmu, whose 70-year-old father "died of anxiety" a few hours before his son was evacuated along with 40 other workers trapped in the under-construction Silkyara tunnel, it would be a happy union with their families.
Saluting the courage and bravery of workers Chief Minister Hemant Soren has said the reunion would be a real 'Diwali' for their families.
Rescue workers pulled out all 41 workers trapped in Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel in a multi-agency rescue operation that hovered between hope and despair for almost 17 days.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)