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Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: Rescue Efforts Enter Day 3, Officials Hope to Wrap Up Ops By Tonight

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The rescue operations to evacuate the 40 labourers trapped inside an under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi entered its third day on Tuesday. The state government has constituted a six-member expert committee to probe the incident.

Teams from several agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), have been engaged in the operation.

Officials — at present — are preparing to do horizontal drilling to rescue the workers trapped inside the tunnel. They said that the pipes will be pushed in using the horizontal drilling equipment to create an escape pathway for the workers.

Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Kumar Sinha said that authorities have set a target to rescue the trapped workers by Tuesday night or Wednesday.

Superintendent of Police (Uttarkashi), Arpan Yaduvanshi said that the teams are optimistic about rescuing everyone, adding that, they are hoping to wrap the ops by late evening today.

Yaduvanshi said that due to the issue of falling debris, the teams have shifted to plan B of inserting the pipe and rescuing the workers through that.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer GL Nath, requested “local leaders and others not to come here as it is hampering our efforts in the rescue operation.” “We hope that we will rescue the 40 workers trapped inside the tunnel soon,” Nath said.

SDRF (Uttarakhand) Commandant, Manikant Mishra said that he spoke to the workers trapped in the tunnel, adding that they have assured him that all 40 of them are fine. Mishra said that the workers will be rescued soon.

The under-construction tunnel — which collapsed on Sunday — was being built between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway.

Communication with the workers trapped inside was established on Monday. Those trapped inside signalled that they are safe, an official at the site said.

The Director of the NHIDCL (National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited), Anshu Manish Khalko said, “The situation is better now. The workers are safe. We are providing food and water. There are nearly 40 people inside. We are trying our best.”

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also visited the site to take stock of the situation and inspected the rescue efforts that were underway at the site. Dhami asked the officials and other agencies involved in the rescue oeprations to work with coordination and inform the administration immediately of the their requirements of sources.

Dhami also said that authorities are in constant touch with the families of the people stuck in the tunnel, adding that food, water and other essential are being provided to the trapped workers. “PM is in touch and keeping an eye on the rescue operations.”

source by: news18

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