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Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: PM Modi speaks to CM Dhami, takes stock of the situation
Uttarkashi: With operations to safely evacuate 41 trapped labourers out of the Silkyara tunnel underway, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the ongoing rescue and relief efforts from Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami via call on Tuesday.
PM Modi inquired about the well-being of the trapped workers and instructed the Chief Minister to ensure their safety along with those involved in rescue operations.
CM Dhami updated the PM regarding the progress of the drilling works inside the tunnel adding that if the rescuers do not encounter any hurdle in the course, all the workers will be evacuated soon.
The Prime Minister also directed the Chief Minister to ensure that the families of the trapped workers do not face any problems. The upcoming strategy for the operations was also discussed, as per a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office.
CM Dhami said that all the workers are kept in constant contact with doctors and psychiatrists and also added that quality food is being sent regularly to them.
He further informed that in addition to the communication setup established by SDRF, BSNL has also made arrangements for a telephonic communication setup.
The Chief Minister said that SDRF, and NDRF have been deployed on the spot and a doctor's team is also present on the spot. All officers have been kept on alert for 24 hours.
CM Dhami reviewed the ongoing rescue operations inside the tunnel this morning.
He was accompanied by Secretary to the Uttarakhand government Neeraj Khairwal, District Magistrate Abhishek Ruhela, Uttarkashi SP Arpan Yaduvanshi, former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office Bhaskar Khulbe and Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Mangesh Ghildiyal and others.
The Chief Minister also offered prayers at the temple of Baba Bokh Naag Devta located at the entrance of the tunnel and wished for the safe rescue of all the workers.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the 41 trapped labourers have been asked to be prepared and keep the clothes and bags of the workers ready as the ongoing rescue effort raises hopes of an early evacuation, as per official sources.
According to the sources, the workers will be taken to Chinyalisaur Hospital after being rescued and brought out.
The multi-pronged rescue efforts continue at the Silkyara Tunnel collapse site with both vertical and manual drilling works taking off at an almost similar pace from atop the hill and inside the tunnel accordingly.
As per official sources, the vertical drilling work of about 43 metres has been done so far out of the 86 metres needed. The remaining work may take another 40 to 50 hours.
However, officials part of the vertical drilling team said that the work undertaken from the mouth of the tunnel is seen as the more feasible rescue option and that it will be completed faster than vertical drilling.
"All the experts have been working for a long time. 52 metres of drilling work has been done, everyone is fine, everyone is full of energy. We hope the work will be completed as soon as possible. The manner in which the work is ongoing, we hope that there will be a breakthrough very soon," CM Dhami said.
As per official sources, about 57 metres of drilling work from the mouth of the tunnel, is to be done in total to lay a pipe inside the tunnel to reach the trapped workers.
Rat-hole miners are carrying out the manual drilling work which has been going on since Monday night. The debris thus generated is taken out manually using ropes from the rescue pipe.
Speaking to ANI on the ongoing rescue efforts, micro tunnelling expert Chris Cooper said that it is looking very positive the way work is gaining momentum.
The drilling work was halted at around 47 metres after the auger machine got stuck in the debris. Later it was cut and removed using a plasma cutter.
Officials informed that the 41 workers trapped inside the tunnel are stable and safe.
A delegation led by Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Pramod Kumar Mishra also took stock of ongoing efforts earlier on Monday. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Uttarakhand Chief Secretary SS Sandhu along with PK Mishra inspected the work inside the tunnel.