Temporary Halt in Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse Rescue Operation Following Loud Cracking Sound

Temporary Halt in Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse Rescue Operation Following Loud Cracking Sound

Ranchi - The rescue operation in Uttarakhand has come to a standstill following a significant cracking sound reported at the site, prompting officials to cease drilling activities around 2:30 pm.

In a statement, the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) explained, "During the execution of the work at around 2:45 pm, a large-scale cracking sound was heard by officials and the team working inside the tunnel and created a panic situation in the tunnel as well as to the team working." The NHIDCL expressed concerns about the possibility of a further collapse, leading to the suspension of pipe pushing activities.

The collapsed section of the tunnel, integral to the Char Dham all-weather road project, occurred on Sunday, with the affected area located 270 meters from the tunnel's entrance on the Silkyara side.

Rescue teams, employing a robust drilling machine, have penetrated up to 24 meters of debris inside the Silkyara tunnel by Friday afternoon, gradually approaching the 40 laborers trapped for five days.

To establish an escape route for the stranded workers, the rescue effort requires the use of a massive drilling machine to bore up to 60 meters, enabling the insertion of pipes with diameters ranging from 800 mm to 900 mm.

The NHIDCL statement noted, "Positioning of the fifth pipe was under progress. It was reported that the machine was not able to push further as it was getting lifted, and the bearings of the machine were damaged." To address this issue, a plan was devised to anchor the machine and ensure that further pushing of the 900 mm diameter pipe would be feasible only if the machine maintained the same inclination as the pipe.

The Silkyara Tunnel, also recognized as the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel, holds a crucial role in the central government's ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project, with an estimated cost of approximately Rs 12,000 crore. The project aims to reduce the distance from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri by about 25 kilometers.

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