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Miraculous Rescue Operation: Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse Survivors Expected to be Freed by November 25

Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse

Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: The 41 workers trapped in an under-construction tunnel on the Char Dham route are expected to be rescued in three days, according to rescue authorities in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi.

In the next three days, workers will be rescued from the Silkyara tunnel as part of the 5-point evacuation plan, according to Anshu Manish Khalkho, director of National Highway Infrastructure Development Corp (NHIDCL).

In addition, Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL) is currently drilling at 280m to the left of the Silkyara tunnel entrance, also known as evacuation pipe 2, while Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) has begun digging 1.2 meters from above the tunnel, also known as evacuation pipe 3, which will take 320 meters to get to the workers.

According to Khalkho, evacuation pipes 2 and 3 are expected to be completed by the 24th of November unless they encounter any new obstacles.

As part of a Rs 12,000 crore infrastructure plan to improve connectivity between Char Dham sites, the tunnel collapsed 160 metres from the entrance at Silkyara early on Diwali (November 12).

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has also started work on constructing a backup route from the Barkot end to rescue the 41 trapped workers, according to a Ministry of Road Transport and Highways official.

We expect the first worker to be rescued by November 25 if the work on the evacuation pipes assigned to RVNL and SJVN goes smoothly.

In case of drilling snags, the agencies have been advised not to rush the drilling process and to work closely with Arnold Dix, president of Geneva-based International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association.

As the world’s leading expert on underground tunnelling and issues related to operational safety, Dix hails from Australia.

Five options have been considered by the Union government for rescuing the workers: Tehri Hydro Development Corp, ONGC, RVNL, SJVN, and NHIDCL.

Mahmood Ahmed, managing director of NHIDCL, has been posted in Silkyara to ensure coordination with all central agencies.

In addition to the State Disaster Response Force, the Defence Research and Development Organization, the Border Roads Organization, and the Uttrakhand Public Works Department are also taking part in the rescue operation.

The rescue operation has so far been successful

A part of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Chardham project is the Silkyara Tunnel. Navayuga Engineering Co is building it for NHIDCL for Rs 853.79 crore.

On November 12, a portion of the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed, trapping 40 workers.

Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the scene. They drilled a pipe through the debris and sent walkie-talkies to the trapped workers.

This tunnel would save pilgrims an hour of travel time by avoiding steep, mountainous, and narrow roads that are prone to accidents and landslides.This tunnel would save pilgrims an hour of travel time by avoiding steep, mountainous, and narrow roads that are prone to accidents and landslides.

If the existing road had been widened, it would have destroyed the Rhododendron vegetation covering the Radi Top mountains.

Rescue efforts were halted on November 17 at about 2:45 pm after a large cracking sound was detected during the installation of a fifth pipe, according to a statement released that day.

There is a possibility that the project could collapse further, according to a project expert.Subsequently, the pipe-pushing activity was halted

As the agencies involved in the effort set up for the next stage, rescue work was suspended on November 18 and resumed on November 19.

A specialist warns that the intensive drilling involved in this project could further destabilize the already delicate terrain, increasing the risk of landslides and flash floods in the area.

In November, a 6-inch pipe was successfully pushed through the collapsed portion of the tunnel, allowing larger quantities of food to be provided to the trapped workers, who were only receiving dry rations through a 4-inch pipe until then.

In particular, the extensive disruption of mountainous ecosystems caused by the Char Dham Highway has had substantial environmental repercussions. 

Environmentalists have expressed concern that this project may have exacerbated the ecological vulnerability of the Himalayan region in addition to the extensive construction activities.

Uttarkashi: What caused the tunnel to collapse?

NHIDCL officials say that an investigation is underway, despite initial media reports suggesting a landslide caused the collapse.

To investigate the collapse of the Uttarkashi tunnel, the Uttarakhand government has formed a six-member expert committee.

Ravi Chopra has pointed out that dynamite and large drills cause landslides and tunnel collapses.

Chopra said that both ecological and geological concerns should be addressed in the Himalayan region.

He resigned from a Supreme Court-appointed high-powered committee last year after the apex court limited the panel’s jurisdiction to only two non-defence stretches of the all-weather road.

In addition, Harshapati Uniyal, former advisor to the state planning commission, said the construction methods for the Char Dham all-weather highway are unacceptable.

The alignment of the river valley cannot be considered safe. Uniyal said that landslides are inevitable when slopes are disturbed.

Due to the underground tunnel of the project passing near the hill town, cracks appeared in nearby buildings and roads.

According to social activist Shivanand Chamoli, who has been vocal about these issues, development projects should be examined from every aspect before they are approved due to the sensitivity of the Himalayas.Hazardous development will certainly result in disasters,” he said.

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I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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