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Rescue Operation Halted to Rescue 40 Trapped Workers

The 4,531-metre Silkyara Tunnel is a part of the Chardham Project.

On 18 November, the drilling process to reach the 40 trapped workers inside the Silkyara tunnel came to a halt after the rescuers bored 25 metres into the rubble.

The workers have been trapped in the Silkyara tunnel for six days after a portion of the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakal-Yamunotri national highway caved in on 12 November.

Anshu Manish Khulko, director of the tunnel-making company National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), said, “The work on enabling the insertion of a pipeline to extricate the trapped workers has been ongoing over the last three days. Only 25 metres of the pipe-laying work has been completed so far.”

He added that the drilling work to reach the trapped workers is suspended for now, and the managing director of NHIDCL is expected to reach the site today and will share further details after taking stock of the ongoing rescue work.

On 17 November, the auger machine that was engaged in the drilling process stopped functioning after it hit a rock face; later, the machine started functioning properly in the afternoon.

However, another heavy-duty drilling machine for Indore, Madhya Pradesh, will reach the tunnel site later on 18 November.

The 4,531-metre Silkyara Tunnel is a part of the Chardham Project of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway that will link the Gangotri and Yamunotri axis under the Radi pass area.

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