Rescue teams in Uttarakhand are facing a race against time as they work to save 41 construction workers who have been trapped under debris for more than 170 hours due to a tunnel collapse. The prolonged confinement of the workers is raising concerns about their health and well-being.
Efforts are underway to drill a vertical hole from the top of the hill where the workers are trapped, in order to provide access for rescue operations. A high-performance drilling machine from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, has been brought to the site to assist in this process.
A team of officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and experts are working on five different rescue plans simultaneously to expedite the rescue operation. Bhaskar Khulbe, former advisor to the Prime Minister, stated that the workers are expected to be rescued within four to five days with the collaborative efforts of the agencies involved.
However, there is hope that the rescue could be completed earlier if conditions allow. Drilling operations were temporarily halted after a “cracking sound” was heard from the machine on Friday evening.
NHIDCL’s MD Mahmood Ahmed has been appointed as the coordinator for all central agencies involved in the rescue operation. Meanwhile, families of the trapped workers are anxiously waiting for any news and their concerns are growing as time passes.
Doctors have emphasized the need for comprehensive rehabilitation for the workers after their rescue, as the prolonged confinement may have both mental and physical effects that require recovery processes.
The 41 workers have been trapped since Sunday morning when a section of the tunnel collapsed. They are currently being supplied with food and water through steel pipes that have been drilled into the opening.
This tunnel is part of the Char Dham project, which aims to improve connectivity to the Hindu pilgrimage sites of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.