In a tense and critical situation, a tunnel under construction on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway in Uttarkashi district partially collapsed at approximately 5 am yesterday, leaving 40 workers trapped inside. A commendable multi-agency operation is currently underway to ensure the safe rescue of these workers.
The tunnel, part of the ambitious Char Dham Road Project and designed to connect Silkyara to Dandalgaon in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi, became the center of a challenging rescue mission. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), and local police have joined forces to oversee this critical operation.
There’s a glimmer of hope as all 40 trapped workers have been declared safe and are being supplied with vital oxygen through a pipeline. Prashant Kumar, Circle Officer of Uttarkashi, reassured the public by stating, “Everyone is safe, we are in constant touch with the trapped workers.” Additionally, the trapped workers have received essential supplies of water and food to sustain them during this trying time.
Rescue teams have been tirelessly working to create an escape passage for the workers. As of now, approximately 20 meters of debris have been successfully removed to open the tunnel, with around 35 meters remaining. The use of heavy machinery, including excavators, has expedited the process, ensuring a safe exit route for those trapped.
Gripping photographs and videos from the scene reveal the immense challenges faced by the rescue teams, with concrete rubble blocking the tunnel’s entrance, and twisted metal bars posing a significant challenge.
This tunnel construction project, part of the Char Dham Road Project, has a broader goal of reducing the travel distance from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri Dham by 26 kilometers, a significant development for the region’s infrastructure.
The trapped workers represent diverse regions, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh, emphasizing the collaborative and widespread nature of this critical infrastructure project.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has been actively monitoring the situation, expressing his thoughts and prayers for the safe return of all trapped individuals. He acknowledged the commendable efforts of the NDRF and SDRF teams who are tirelessly working to ensure the safety of the workers.