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Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: CM Dhami Inspects Silkyara Tunnel Site

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Uttarkashi: Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami arrived in Uttarkashi on Saturday to assess the progress of the rescue efforts at the Silkyara tunnel.

Addressing the press, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami emphasised on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the individuals stuck in the Silkyara tunnel. Dhami highlighted that the Prime Minister actively seeks daily updates to stay informed about the ongoing situation and the condition of the workers involved.

Expressing hope for the successful rescue of the trapped workers, Dhami said, “We will soon be successful in evacuating the labour brothers safely.”

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very sensitive towards the workers trapped in Silkyara, Uttarkashi Tunnel. The Prime Minister is taking detailed information every day about the well-being of the workers and the ongoing relief and rescue operations in the tunnel. Central agencies, state administrations, and teams of international experts are working on all options; we will soon be successful in evacuating the labour brothers safely,” CM Pushkar Singh Dhami posted on X.

Meanwhile, international tunnel expert Arnold Dix, who is aiding in the rescue process, said on Saturday that there were multiple ways to rescue the trapped workers, and the 41 men inside the Silkyara tunnel are coming home safely. He also spoke about the breakdown of the Auger machine, saying there would not be any new auger machine and other methods would be used for rescue operations.

“There are multiple ways. It’s not just one way. At the moment, everything is fine. You will not see the augering anymore. Auger’s work is finished. The auger (machine) has broken. It’s irreparable. It is disrupted. No more work from Auger. No more drilling from the Auger. There will not be a new auger,” International Tunnelling Expert Arnold Dix said.

“I said that 41 men are coming home safely, and we’re not going to hurt anybody in the process. We’re looking at, as we’ve always been, multiple options. But with each option we’re considering right now, to do that, we evaluate all of the evidence that we have about how the mountain is behaving. Now, the mountain has again resisted the Auger, so we’re rethinking our approach. This is a decision that’s been made by all the experts, including Indian and local experts. The Himalayan experts from India are providing us with all the information we need. I am confident that 41 men are coming home.” added Arnold Dix.

“I’ll just say that I’ve always promised that they’d be home by Christmas. If you remember right from the beginning, I’ve never been. It is a long time, and they’re safe and they’re well, and if we rush, we can cause another problem in there. So we’re taking our time and being very considerate, and that’s what all these meetings are at the moment. Of course, there’ll be an announcement shortly about what we’re going to do,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) team has once again come on standby mode to do vertical drilling.

The team of 12 people at SJVN Limited is completely ready to do the drilling as long as they get the order.

Officials are exploring the option of vertical drilling too, as the heavy-duty auger machine that was used in the horizontal drilling through the mouth of the tunnel from the Silyara side hit an obstacle on Friday evening.

After a portion of the tunnel caved in on November 12, the debris falling in the 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side of the tunnel trapped 41 labourers inside. The workers are trapped in a 2 km-built portion, which is complete, including concrete work, which provides them safety.

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