26 Nov 2023

Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue: Help of this machine will be taken to rescue trapped workers; Army called for manual drilling

Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue: The help of plasma machine will be taken to rescue the workers trapped in the tunnel in Uttarkashi.

Micro tunneling expert Chris Cooper told on Sunday that drilling was earlier being done there with the auger machine but due to metal coming in between, this work was being disrupted. However, preparations are being made for cutting with plasma machine. It cuts steel quickly.

However, he did not tell whether the plasma machine had reached near the tunnel or not.

At present, it is a matter of relief that all of them are safe and oxygen, medicines and food items are being supplied to them through a pipe.

A protective umbrella is being installed to shield the rescue team inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand where 41 workers have been trapped for two weeks, according to official sources.

Army called for manual drilling

The rescue work which was stopped since Friday to rescue 41 laborers trapped in Silkyara Tunnel of Uttarkashi will start again today. The army has been called for manual drilling in the tunnel. In fact, the blades of the American auger machine were broken just 10 meters before the workers' location. Because of this the rescue had to be stopped. After this it was decided to do manual drilling instead of machine.

Before manual drilling, stuck shafts and blades of the auger machine must be removed. Experts say that if the pieces of the machine are not removed carefully, it may break the pipeline laid in the tunnel. Its plasma cutter has been procured from Hyderabad.

Landline phone to be sent to the stranded workers

Additionally, in an effort to reassure and alleviate the stress of the trapped workers, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is providing a landline through which they can communicate with their families. Kundan, an official from BSNL, mentioned that they are currently in the process of sending a small landline phone to the stranded workers through a pipe.

"This will enable them to communicate directly with their families," he stated. BSNL has established a small telephone exchange at the tunnel site to connect the phone through a line.

Wi-Fi connectivity, cricket bat and ball may be provided

A senior official involved in the rescue operation mentioned that mobile phones have also been sent to the trapped workers for entertainment. Despite the lack of a mobile network in the vicinity, considerations are being made to provide Wi-Fi connectivity. Furthermore, plans include providing a cricket bat and ball to allow the workers to engage in recreational activities, given the ample space inside the tunnel where they are confined.

No progress in drilling work over last 24 hours

Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired member of the National Disaster Management Authority, reported on Saturday that there has been no progress in the drilling work over the last 24 hours to rescue the 41 workers trapped in the Uttarkashi tunnel for 13 days. He explained that a portion of the American-Auger machine broke, hindering the potential escape route.

"The current update is that in the last 24 hours, there hasn't been any movement within this bore tunnel that was being made for the rescue. Because...the Auger machine itself has had a bit of an accident. A portion of it (has actually) broken, and that broken portion has to be pulled out (of the escape pipe)," Hasnain reported.

The ordeal began on November 12 when a portion of the tunnel collapsed, trapping 41 laborers inside the under-construction structure on the Silkyara side of the tunnel.

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