25 of 70-metre drilling done to reach trapped tunnel workers in Uttarakhand : The Tribune India

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25 of 70-metre drilling done to reach trapped tunnel workers in Uttarakhand

25 of 70-metre drilling done to reach trapped tunnel workers in Uttarakhand

Rescue and relief operations underway in Uttarkashi district on Friday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Mohan

New Delhi, November 17

On the sixth day of the operation to rescue 40 workers trapped inside a partially collapsed under-construction Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarakhand, significant success is said to have been achieved on Friday as 25-metre drilling had been done into the 70-metre-thick rubble to create a safe passage.

Another machine to reach mishap site

To expedite the rescue operation, an additional heavy auger machine has been requisitioned from Indore, which will be airlifted to Dehradun on Saturday

The rescue teams aim to insert 800 and 900-mm diameter pipes to bring out the stranded workers. According to information, the US-made horizontal dry drilling equipment with an auger had drilled a 25-metre hole and inserted four pipes by the evening. However, the operation faced a temporary halt when the auger encountered a metal obstruction, prompting the use of a gas cutter to move ahead.

To expedite the rescue, an additional heavy auger machine had been requisitioned from Indore, which would serve as a backup, said an official. The second machine is expected to arrive at the site on Saturday. An Indian Air Force C-17 helicopter had been deployed to airlift nearly 22 tonnes of critical equipment from Indore to Dehradun, the official said.

Anshu Manish Khulko, Tunnel Project Director at the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, said, “We have successfully advanced 25 metres into the tunnel, which is a positive development. Our target is to swiftly reach the opposite end. To enhance our operations, we are arranging for the airlift of an additional machine from Indore.” The operation involves attaching a 6-metre-long and 800mm diameter pipe to the auger of the machine, which is then forced into the rubble. Officials noted a speed of approximately 1 to 2 metres per hour.

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