On the tenth day of rescue operations at the Silkyara tunnel collapse site in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, a significant milestone was achieved with the successful insertion of an endoscopy camera into the collapsed section. The first visuals of the trapped workers emerged as they communicated their well-being to the rescue teams.
The rescue team initiated the process of laying a pipeline inside the Silkyara Tunnel and established communication with individual workers for health updates.
Another significant achievement occurred as rescuers brought a vertical drilling machine to the tunnel from the upper part of the hill. This development is crucial as 41 laborers remain trapped inside. The machine, named Harbanz, took 13 hours and 3 vehicles to reach the site.
This progress follows a breakthrough on the ninth day when a six-inch-wide pipeline was pushed through the rubble, creating an alternative lifeline for the stranded workers. Hot Khichdi was sent to the workers for the first time through this pipeline.
The collapse happened on November 12 during tunnel construction, trapping 41 laborers due to a muck fall. The workers are believed to be trapped in a 2 km-built tunnel portion with concrete work, providing safety, electricity, and water. Food and medicines are being provided through a 4-inch compressor pipeline.
Rescue operation in-charge Colonel Deepak Patil stated that the main challenge is evacuating trapped individuals through a 900 mm pipe. Meanwhile, food, mobiles, and chargers are being sent through the 6-inch lifeline. Plastic cylindrical bottles with wide mouths are used to send bananas, apples, Khichdi, and Daliya.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami assured that evacuation efforts are progressing rapidly, and arrangements will be made for the travel, accommodation, and food of any relatives arriving at the site. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways mentioned ongoing rescue operations, with constant communication to maintain the morale of the trapped workers.
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is working on another vertical pipeline for essential item supply. Various government agencies have specific tasks in the rescue operation. SJVNL's first machine for the vertical rescue tunnel has reached the site, and operations are commencing.
On November 17, due to ground movement, it became unsafe to continue laying the 900 mm pipe. To expedite the rescue, multiple fronts are being worked on simultaneously. The trapped area is 8.5 meters high and 2 km long, with concreting work providing safety, electricity, and water.
NHIDCL will continue drilling from the Silkyara end, with the Army preparing safety arrangements. The Director of NHIDCL mentioned an atmosphere of joy among the trapped laborers after learning about the installation of a 6-inch pipe in the tunnel.