As rescuers raced against time to evacuate the 40 workers trapped in an under-construction tunnel in Silkyara in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi, an auger drill machine was being installed to expedite the process of digging through the debris and rescuing the trapped people.
Apart from that, the mental condition of trapped workers was being monitored through constant communications. Experts from Norway and Thailand were taken into consideration given the fragile state of the mountains where the tunnel is located. Nearly 50 metres of debris needs to be penetrated to insert 800 mm of evacuation tubes.
Union Minister General (retd) VK Singh is scheduled to visit the tunnel at 10:50 am on Thursday to take stock of the rescue operations. A rescue team will also attempt to lay a 900 mm large pipe through the debris to rescue the trapped workers.
Meanwhile, three consignments of the new auger drill machine brought from Delhi by Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Chinyalisaur helipad reached the tunnel. The distance of the tunnel from Chinyalisaur is about 35 kilometres. The truck was moving slowly due to the weight of the machine.
The drilling machine and its parts were being transported to the tunnel in three trucks. If the drilling machine, weighing 24 tonnes works properly to its capacity, it will be able to cut the tunnel at a speed of 5 mm per hour. A portion of the tunnel, part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project, collapsed on Sunday. The 30-metre collapsed section is 270 metres from the mouth of the tunnel from the Silkyara side.
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