Uttarkashi: Rescue operations on at underconstruction tunnel on Yamunotri National Highway, 40 workers still stuck

Rescue and relief operations are going on in full swing after a part of an under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway collapsed on Sunday.

Around 40 workers are trapped inside, administrative officials said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and police have launched search and rescue operations on Sunday. But the workers are yet to be rescued. Earlier, the teams had said the rescue operation is expected to take 2-3 days to complete.

Ranveer Singh Chauhan, a member of the Prantiya Rakshak Dal (PRD), said that the rescue team has been able to establish communication with the workers trapped under the debris.

“Work is underway at a great speed. Everyone is working very hard. We were saddened yesterday because we weren’t able to communicate with those trapped. But then we were able to communicate with them,” Chauhan said.



A worker who spoke to Desk said the rescue teams are removing the debris using excavators and other heavy machines.

“The work of mucking is underway. Mucking is being done with the loader & excavator. Approximately 30-35 meters part of the tunnel has been broken. The incident happened around 5:30 am. We have information of around 40-45 people being trapped. Everyone is safe,” said Mritunjay Kumar, a loader operator.



On Sunday, Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Arpan Yaduvanshi said that the collapse occurred between 6 and 7 am, with a portion of the under-construction tunnel connecting Silkyara to Dandalgaon giving way. The affected section is reported to be about 200 meters from the starting point on the Silkyara side of Brahmakhal-Polgaon.



On the question of circumstances that led to the collapse, Yaduvanshi said the priority was to save the lives of those trapped inside the tunnel.

“According to the officials of HIDCL, which is looking after the construction work of the tunnel, about 36 people are trapped in the tunnel and efforts are being made to rescue them safely. Police force, NDRF and SDRF team are present at the spot. Till now, no casualties have been reported. We will soon rescue all the people safely,” Yaduvanshi said.

Oxygen is being pumped into the collapsed section of the tunnel, which is part of the Char Dham all-weather road project, through a water pipe so that the trapped labourers do not have difficulty breathing, Yaduvanshi said.

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