Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: Focus on manual drilling, results expected by evening says Micro tunnelling expert

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UTTARKASHI: Amid high anticipation of an early evacuation of the trapped labourers in Silkyara tunnel, Micro tunnelling expert Chris Cooper said that the vertical drilling works have been stopped and they are focusing on manual drilling which is progressing on a swift pace.

He added that the team is expecting to see some results by evening around 5 pm. “We are still mining. Everybody is very excited and energetic. Let us see what happens. We have stopped vertical drilling and the focus is on manual drilling,” Chris Cooper said. “We have got a couple of more metres to go. We are expecting to see some results by 5 pm. 2-3 metres are left,” he added.

Meanwhile, ambulances and NDRF personnel have been deployed at the entrance of the tunnel. The NDRF team will be going inside the tunnel to bring out the trapped labourers one by one, as per official sources.

During a press briefing earlier today, the Nodal Officer for the Silkyara rescue operation and Secretary to the Uttarakhand government, Neeraj Khairwal, informed that if there are no more hurdles, the rescuers are anticipating an early evacuation of the trapped labourers. Addressing the media at the tunnel site, Neeraj Khairwal said, “As of now, we have pushed 55.3 metres of the pipe. This includes clearing of the rubble as well as laying the pipe. Only a little more distance remains. It might be somewhere between 57-59 metres.”

“It might take a few more hours if there are no more hurdles. By evening we are hoping. Let’s pray and hope for the best,” he added.
National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Managing Director Mahmood Ahmad said that vertical drilling up to 44 metres is completed out of 86 metres needed. “Vertical drilling is being done by SJVNL; drilling up to 44 metres out of the total 86 metres is complete. THDC executed 7th blast today. So, we gained another 1.5 metres,” he said.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the ongoing rescue and relief efforts from Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami via call. PM Modi inquired about the well-being of the trapped workers and instructed the Chief Minister to ensure their safety along with those involved in rescue operations.

CM Dhami reviewed the ongoing rescue operations inside the tunnel this morning. The relatives of the 41 trapped labourers have been asked to be prepared and keep the clothes and bags of the workers ready as the ongoing rescue effort raises hopes of an early evacuation, as per official sources.

According to the sources, the workers will be taken to Chinyalisaur Hospital after being rescued and brought out. (ANI)

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