Uttarkashi, November 14
Gabbar Singh Negi, one of the 40 labourers trapped in the under-construction tunnel that collapsed on the Char Dham route, spoke to his son on Tuesday.
“I was allowed to speak to my father for a few seconds using the pipe through which oxygen is being supplied to the stranded workers,” Akash Singh Negi told PTI.
The conversation lasted just a few seconds, he said.
“He said they were safe. He asked us not to worry as the company is with them,” Akash said.
Akash came along with his uncle Maharaj Singh Negi and three others from Uttarakhand’s Kotdwar to enquire about his father’s well-being.
“We were initially not allowed by the policemen to talk to those trapped inside. When I convinced the inspector that hearing from a relative will comfort the stranded labourers as well as the concerned family members and strengthen their hope for a safe rescue, he relented and I sent Akash to speak to his father,” Maharaj Singh Negi said.
He said quoting authorities that they should not worry as the tunnel is unclogged and empty 2 km beyond the point where the labourers are trapped.
A part of the tunnel being built between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway caved in on Sunday morning following a landslide, officials said.
Gabbar Singh, who hails from Bishanpur near Kotdwar, is among the two persons from Uttarakhand trapped inside the tunnel along with 38 others.
Local priest Ram Narayan Awasthi also performed a puja to pray for the safe rescue of the trapped workers.
“I was asked by the company to perform a puja so that the gods show some mercy and the trapped labourers are safely evacuated and I did it,” Awasthi told PTI.
According to a list of the trapped workers issued by the District Emergency Operation Centre, 15 are from Jharkhand, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five from Orissa, four from Bihar, three from West Bengal, two each from Uttarakhand and Assam, and one from Himachal Pradesh.
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