Part of tunnel collapsed on Yamunotri National Highway, 36 workers trapped inside

(with pictures)

Uttarkashi, November 12 (Language) On Sunday morning, a part of the tunnel under construction on Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand suddenly collapsed, trapping 36 workers, for whom rescue and relief work is being carried out on a war footing.

Meanwhile, the agency constructing the tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon said that there are indications that the workers trapped inside are safe.

Rajesh Panwar, project manager of Navyug Engineering Company Limited, said that the people trapped in the tunnel have poured water out from the pipe, indicating that they are all safe.

He said that the work of removing muck (muddy debris) is being done at a fast pace and we feel that now we are not far away. “We are hopeful that we will reach there (the workers) by tonight,” Panwar said.

Earlier, Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Arpan Yaduvanshi, who reached the spot as soon as information about the incident was received, said that the police, National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, fire brigade, emergency 108 and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, the organization constructing the tunnel. (NHIDCL) employees are busy removing debris and opening the tunnel. He told that the accident happened between 6-7 am in the morning towards Silkyara.

Later, teams of Border Roads Organization and Indo-Tibetan Border Police also reached the spot, which further accelerated the rescue and relief work.

Uttarkashi District Magistrate Abhishek Ruhela, NHAI Chief General Manager Vishal Gupta and NDRF Second in Command Ravi Shankar Badhani are also present at the spot to monitor the rescue and relief operations.

According to Uttarkashi District Emergency Operation Centre, 160 rescue workers are trying to reach the workers trapped in the tunnel with the help of digging equipment and JCB machines.

Yaduvanshi said that according to the records provided by NHIDCL, 36 workers are trapped inside the tunnel. Initial reports said that 40 workers were trapped inside the tunnel.

He told that the collapsed part of the tunnel is about 200 meters away from the mouth of the tunnel. He said that oxygen pipes have been supplied to the collapsed part of the tunnel so that the people trapped there do not face difficulty in breathing.

He said that food items are also being transported inside the tunnel and the workers will be taken out soon.

When asked about the reasons for the incident, the police officer said that it would be ascertained later and at present the priority is to save the lives of the people trapped in the tunnel.

According to Navyug Engineering, the workers trapped in the tunnel are from Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

After the completion of the construction work of this four and a half kilometer long tunnel being built under the all-weather Char Dham Road Project, the journey from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri Dham will be reduced by 26 kilometers.

On the other hand, in Dehradun, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that after getting information about the incident, he is in constant touch with the officials. He said that agencies have reached the spot and started rescue and relief operations. Dhami said that he prays to God that everyone comes out safely soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called the Chief Minister and took information from him regarding the incident and assured all possible help. Sharing this information on social media, Dhami said that as soon as he returned from Lepcha in Himachal Pradesh, the Prime Minister called him and took detailed information regarding the condition of the workers trapped in the tunnel and the relief and rescue operations.

He said, “Informed the Prime Minister in detail about the rescue operations conducted to get the workers out safely and informed him about the situation.”

Dhami said that the Prime Minister assured all possible help to deal with the accident. He said that the Government of India has directed central agencies to cooperate in relief and rescue operations.

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