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"Will take 3-4 hrs to evacuate workers from Silkyara tunnel...": NDMA official Ata Hasnain

New Delhi: National Disaster Management Authority Member, Lt General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain on Tuesday said that the entire operation to evacuate workers from the Silkyara tunnel will take 3-4 hours adding that they are not in a "hurry."

Addressing a press briefing in New Delhi, NDMA Member Syed Ata Hasnain said, "It is estimated that it will take 3-5 minutes to evacuate each of the 41 persons. The entire evacuation is expected to take 3-4 hours from the Silkyara tunnel after the breakthrough is achieved."

He further said that three teams of NDRF will go inside the tunnel to organise the evacuation. SDRF will provide support and Paramedics will also go inside the tunnel at the time of evacuation.

"All safety precautions will be implemented. No premature announcements are to be made, it will be against all principles. We also have to take care of the safety and security of the people who are rescuing the workers...We are not in any hurry," he added.

Ambulance and emergency vehicles are seen on standby near the entrance of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel during the rescue operation for trapped workers after a section of the tunnel collapsed around 17 days ago, he added.

"30-bed facility is ready in the District Hospital and 10-bed facility is also ready at the site. Chinook can fly in the night but the weather is not favourable for it and there is no urgency as such. If there is urgency, workers can be brought to Rishikesh in 1 or 2 ambulances," he said.

A Chinook helicopter has been kept ready at the Chinyalisaur airstrip to airlift the workers after their rescue from the Silkyara tunnel, he said.

"Chinook helicopter is present at Chinyalisaur airstrip...The last time to fly the Chinook helicopter is 4:30 pm. We will not fly it during the night. Since there is a delay, the workers will be brought the next morning," he added.

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.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the ongoing rescue and relief efforts from Uttarakhand Chief Minister.

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)

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