This Article is From Nov 25, 2023

Manual Drilling To Start Tomorrow As Fresh Snag Halts Uttarkashi Tunnel Op

Shortly after drilling recommenced on Friday, the auger encountered a snag, thought to be a metallic object, causing a delay in the rescue operation.

Forty-one ambulances remain on standby at the tunnel's entrance.

New Delhi: The rescue operation to save 41 workers trapped in the collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district faced another hurdle Friday evening as drilling was halted once again.

Here are 10 big points on the rescue operation:

  1. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today said manual drilling will commence tomorrow. A specialised machine from Hyderabad has been summoned to cut the auger machine that is trapped inside the tunnel. "We are exploring all possible options. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking updates on a daily basis. We hope to complete the operations as soon as possible," he said. 

  2. In an earlier press conference, senior officials had announced that only 10-12 metres of drilling remained before reaching the trapped construction workers, confirming that ground-penetrating radar had not detected any significant metallic obstacles within the next five metres. 

  3. As the drilling machine bores its way forward, six-metre sections of steel pipe are welded together and pushed into the narrow tunnel passage. Once the steel chute is in place, rescuers will utilise wheeled stretchers to safely evacuate the workers through the newly created tunnel.

  4. On Friday evening, rescue workers said that the drill bit was being withdrawn through the passage carved by the drilling machine. The two setbacks encountered within a span of two days have dealt a blow to anxious relatives camped outside the tunnel for several days. 

  5. Prior to the operations being halted, 46.8 metres of the 800-millimetre-wide steel pipe had been inserted into the drilled passageway in the collapsed section of the tunnel estimated to be around 60 metres long. The six-inch-wide tube, a vital artery connecting the trapped workers to the outside world and their lifeline for food and other essentials, has reached a distance of 57 metres.

  6. In a statement to PTI, Garhwal Range Inspector General KS Nagnyal assured that arrangements have been put in place to swiftly transport the rescued workers to medical centres under a secure police escort through a dedicated "green corridor". 

  7. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conducted a mock drill at the site. An NDRF jawan ventured into the narrow escape passage, carefully maneuvering a wheeled stretcher tethered to a rope. The jawan confirmed that there is ample space for movement and thatbreathing was not an issue.

  8. Forty-one ambulances remain on standby at the tunnel's entrance, ready to whisk the workers away to the Chinyalisaur Community Health Centre. A designated ward has also been set up with 41 oxygen-equipped beds, prepared to provide each worker with prompt medical care.

  9. Officials said the workers are mentally stable and physically fit despite being trapped for nearly two weeks. "They are adequately clothed and when we speak to them, they say they will walk out on their own. That's the kind of mental strength they have," an official said. 

  10. Situated about 30 km from Uttarkashi and a seven-hour drive from Dehradun, the Silkyara tunnel is an integral part of the central government's Char Dham all-weather road project.

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