Light at end of tunnel: All 41 trapped workers rescued in Uttarakhand; President Murmu, PM Modi laud rescuers, workers : The Tribune India

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Light at end of tunnel: All 41 trapped workers rescued in Uttarakhand; President Murmu, PM Modi laud rescuers, workers

17-day rescue operation involved over 200 experts from various government and private agencies as well as rat-hole miners

Light at end of tunnel: All 41 trapped workers rescued in Uttarakhand; President Murmu, PM Modi laud rescuers, workers

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami and Union Minister VK Singh greet rescued workers coming out of the collapsed Silkyara Tunnel, in Uttarkashi district, November 28, 2023. PTI



Tribune News Service

Uttarkashi, November 28

In a remarkable feat, the 400-hour ordeal of 41 construction workers trapped in the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel here reached a positive conclusion on Tuesday evening. The unprecedented rescue operation, a first of its kind in the country, saw all workers evacuated safely, bringing relief and cheer all around.

The rescue effort, involving over 200 experts from various government and private agencies as well as rat-hole miners from Uttar Pradesh lasted 17 days. The workers had got trapped on November 12. The workers, who are reported to be in good health, will undergo medical observation as a precaution.

The multi-agency operation included the intricate task of drilling through rubble and iron bars, showcasing the collaborative efforts of professionals from India and abroad. A steel chute, lining a 60-metre escape passage, facilitated the workers’ safe exit. The rescue met with applause and patriotic chants from onlookers.

Union Minister Gen VK Singh (retd) and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami personally welcomed the rescued workers as National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel brought them out. The first worker, Vijay Kumar, emerged to a cheering crowd, marking the beginning of a sequence where each worker was safely pulled out on a wheeled stretcher.

Inside a makeshift hospital set up within the tunnel, a team of doctors awaited the rescued workers for immediate medical examination.

The workers were trapped since Diwali morning (November 12) due to a landslide that caused a section of the 4.5-kilometre tunnel to collapse just 200 metres from the entrance.

A crucial breakthrough came when rat-miners from Uttar Pradesh played a pivotal role in manual drilling after a US-made auger machine faced technical issues. The rat-miners successfully completed the drilling, creating a passage through the rubble, allowing for the workers’ evacuation. The NDRF team then executed the evacuation process using specially designed wheeled stretchers, with ambulances ready to transport them to a medical facility in Chinyalisaur.

Dhami, during a media interaction after the operation, said he had fulfilled the task assigned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who emphasised on providing medical assistance to all workers and arranging for their return home. The workers will remain under medical observation and a decision regarding their return home will be made based on consultation with doctors.

Despite a temporary setback on Tuesday evening when muck obstructed the main pipe, causing a two-hour delay, the expert team persevered, successfully inserting a 900 mm pipe through the rubble to ensure the smooth evacuation of the trapped workers.

21:42 28 Nov
Congress lauds rescue team, demands compensation for labourers

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge urges the government to provide prompt health benefits and an appropriate compensation to the construction workers.

He demands that a safety audit be conducted of all under-construction schemes so that a similar situation does not arise again.

21:38 28 Nov
Amit Shah terms rescue of workers 'great news'

Home Minister Amit Shah describes the rescue of 41 workers as “great news for the nation” and says the country salutes their grit in facing such a challenging situation for so long.

21:34 28 Nov
Workers rescued to be kept under medical observation: CM Dhami

CM Pushkar Dhami says no one is critical and labourers rescued from Silkyara tunnel will be kept under medical observation before being sent home. 

21:14 28 Nov
Success of rescue operation an emotional moment for everyone: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says everyone associated with rescue mission has set amazing example of humanity and teamwork.

He says success of tunnel rescue operation is an emotional moment for everyone.

21:10 28 Nov
Well-coordinated effort by multiple agencies: Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari says it was well-coordinated effort by multiple agencies and most significant rescue operation in recent years.

21:04 28 Nov
Nation salutes workers' resilience: President Murmu after all trapped workers evacuated

President Droupadi Murmu says she feels relieved and happy to learn that all workers trapped in the tunnel have been rescued. 

"Nation salutes workers' resilience, remains grateful to them for building critical infra, even at great personal risk," she says.

20:49 28 Nov
All 41 trapped workers evacuated

Union minister Nitin Gadkari says all 41 trapped workers brought out from collapsed Silkyara tunnel.

20:33 28 Nov
15 trapped miners brought out

Officials say 15 trapped workers have been brought out from the tunnel within 30 minutes after the first man is pulled out.

20:17 28 Nov
CM Dhami, Union minister V K Singh inside tunnel

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Dhami and Union minister V K Singh are inside Silkyara tunnel as trapped workers come out one by one.

20:07 28 Nov
Pipe pushing from one end to other of rubble done

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Dhami says pipe pushing from one end to other of rubble has been done and preparations are on to bring trapped workers out of tunnel.

19:27 28 Nov
Rat-hole mining explained

Rescuers have fallen back on the rat-hole mining technique to evacuate trapped workers, following the failure of a heavy machine to drill through the rubble to create an escape passage for them. Read More

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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