New Delhi: National Disaster Management Authority Member, Lt General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain on Tuesday said that the rescue workers, who have been tirelessly working day and night to rescue the 41 trapped workers for the last 17 days, were near a breakthrough, "but not quite there".
Addressing a press briefing in New Delhi, NDMA Member Syed Ata Hasnain said, rat-hole mining experts, who were pressed into manually drilling through the last stretch, had reached the 58-metre point, and there were about two more metres to go.
"We are near a breakthrough but not yet there. Manual work has carried on and we have reached 58 metres. The debris had been cut and the work was going on the entire night. Our rat miners, experts and Army engineers have been able to take it to 58 metres and the pipe has been pushed with the help of the auger machine," NDMA Member said.
He further said that the trapped workers have conveyed that they are able to hear the noises of the ongoing work.
"We are at 58 metres, we are hoping that after 2 metres, we can say that it has passed through. The trapped workers have told that they are able to hear noises of work being done and an estimate can be made where the tunnel will pass through," he added.
Meanwhile, a temporary medical facility has been expanded inside the tunnel as part of rescue efforts to bring out 41 trapped workers.
The medical facility has been expanded for workers who will be evacuated. In case of any problem, eight beds have been arranged by the Health Department. A team of doctors and experts has been deployed.
All arrangements have been made to provide requisite medical attention to labourers after they are evacuated.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the ongoing rescue and relief efforts from Uttarakhand Chief Minister.
PM Modi enquired about the well-being of the trapped workers and instructed the Chief Minister to ensure their safety, along with those involved in rescue operations.
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, trapping 41 labourers inside the under-construction structure. (ANI)