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Efforts to clear debris continue in Uttarkashi tunnel collapse, aiming to rescue 40 workers

In the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse, rescue teams have successfully established communication with trapped workers, while ongoing efforts involve the use of heavy machinery to clear debris and facilitate the rescue operation.

By: Team Pardaphash  Pardaphash Group
Efforts to clear debris continue in Uttarkashi tunnel collapse, aiming to rescue 40 workers

Intensive rescue and relief operations have been swiftly initiated in the Silkyara Tunnel along the Uttarkashi-Yamnotri road. A segment of the tunnel collapsed on Sunday morning, trapping approximately 40 laborers inside.

Ranveer Singh Chauhan, a member of the Prantiya Rakshak Dal (PRD), conveyed that the rescue team has successfully established communication with the workers trapped beneath the debris. “Work is progressing rapidly, with everyone exerting maximum effort. There was sorrow yesterday due to the initial communication barrier, but we have since established contact with those trapped,” stated Chauhan.

Providing an update on the ongoing operations, Mritunjay Kumar, a loader operator actively involved in the rescue efforts, reported that the team is employing excavators and other heavy machinery to clear the debris. “Mucking work is in progress with the loader and excavator. Approximately 30-35 meters of the tunnel has been affected. The incident occurred around 5:30 am, and we have information about 40-45 people being trapped. All individuals are reported to be safe,” informed Kumar.

Earlier, Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Arpan Yaduvanshi disclosed that the collapse took place between 6 and 7 am, with a portion of the under-construction tunnel connecting Silkyara to Dandalgaon giving way. The affected section is situated about 200 meters from the starting point on the Silkyara side of Brahmakhal-Polgaon.

Quoting officials from the Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL), the contracted entity overseeing the tunnel’s construction, Yaduvanshi initially estimated the number of trapped laborers at 36. However, the District Emergency Operation Centre later released a list confirming 40 laborers from states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

To alleviate breathing difficulties for the trapped laborers, oxygen is being pumped into the collapsed section of the tunnel through a water pipe, as reported by Yaduvanshi. This tunnel is a crucial part of the Char Dham all-weather road project.

The ongoing rescue operations are being coordinated by a team from the State Disaster Response Team (SDRF) and the police. Additional support has been enlisted from the Border Roads Organisation, with teams led by Commanding Officer Naman Narula and Assistant Commandant Jadhav Vaibhav, along with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, joining later to bolster the rescue efforts.

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