In a significant development in the ongoing rescue operations at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand, where 41 labourers have been trapped for over a week, an alternative six-inch lifeline pipe has been installed at the site. Following this breakthrough, rescuers have initiated efforts to provide hot meals to the stranded workers.
Hemant, the cook responsible for preparing the food for the trapped labourers, told news agency ANI, “This food will be sent inside the tunnel. This is the first time a hot meal is being sent. We are sending Khichdi. We are only preparing the food which we have been recommended.”
Cook Ravi Roy informed about the food items sent to the 41 workers, “Today Khichdi is being sent to them, oranges, apples, and sweet lemon juice have also been sent. From tomorrow Dalia and other food items will be sent to them…”
The collapse in the under-construction tunnel occurred on November 12, trapping the workers in a 60-meter stretch on the Silkyara side. The newly established lifeline pipe, stretching 2 km into the collapsed structure, offers a means to send essential items like food, mobiles, and chargers to those trapped inside.
Colonel Deepak Patil, the rescue operation in-charge, stated, “We are bringing plastic cylindrical bottles with wide mouths so that we can send bananas, apples, Khichdi, and Daliya”, as quoted by ANI.
Nipu Kumar, a safety staff personnel, told ANI that a Walkie-talkie had been sent inside the tunnel to establish communication.
Earlier in the day, Anshu Manish Khulko, the Director of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) shared the positive news about the breakthrough, noting an atmosphere of joy among the trapped labourers. He expressed confidence, saying, “Now that we have established an alternative lifeline, now we will go with full force.”
Working on war footing to evacuate all workers safely: Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Dhami
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami stressed the evacuation efforts as he wrote, “As part of the ongoing rescue operation to rescue workers trapped inside the tunnel under construction in Silkyara, Uttarkashi, a 6-inch diameter pipeline has been successfully laid across the debris. Now through this, food items, medicines and other goods will be easily sent to the workers as per the requirement. Central agencies, SDRF and state administration teams engaged in rescue operations are working tirelessly. We are working on a war footing to evacuate all the workers safely.”
Additionally, two robotics machines from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), weighing 20 kg and 50 kg, arrived at the site. While an attempt was made to use the DRDO’s robotics machine inside the tunnel, Khulko mentioned, “The strata and rubble inside (the tunnel) are very loose, so it was not successful there”, ANI reported.
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