Technical Glitch Pauses Uttarkashi Rescue; Hyderabad's Plasma Cutter En Route for Manual Drilling Tomorrow, Confirms CM

Technical Glitch Pauses Uttarkashi Rescue; Hyderabad's Plasma Cutter En Route for Manual Drilling Tomorrow, Confirms CM

Uttarkashi - The ongoing rescue operation for the 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi faced a setback once again when a technical issue halted the drilling process using the American-made auger machine on Friday evening. This pause prompted Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to provide updates on the operation, emphasizing its final stages.

During the day, Chief Minister Dhami shared details of his communication with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assuring that the Prime Minister is closely monitoring the situation. Dhami disclosed that he has temporarily shifted his camp office to the ITBP center in Matali, 45 kilometers from the accident site, where he is directly overseeing the relief and rescue efforts on the ground.

Regarding the drilling machine, Additional Secretary Technical, Road and Transport Mahmood Ahmed explained that the auger drilling machine, which developed cracks, has been reassembled. After welding a new pipe, the plan is to push it further inside the tunnel, hoping to face no obstacles this time. Ahmed mentioned the need to insert two more pipes of 6 meters each to achieve a breakthrough.

Despite challenges outlined by Bhaskar Khulbe, a former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office, such as compressed pipes and cracked platforms, the rescue team remains optimistic about extricating the trapped workers by Friday. The workers are located in a 2 km-built portion that is complete and provides safety through concrete work.

In a subsequent development on Saturday, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami shared that the auger mission from America faced obstacles, leading to the decision to use a plasma cutter brought in from Hyderabad. The Chief Minister highlighted the complexity of the rescue operations, explaining that the mission had to stop when it went too close, and a plasma cutter is now needed to cut the auger mission blades. The cutter is being transported by air from Hyderabad, with plans to potentially start manual drilling on Sunday morning.

CM Dhami also communicated with the trapped workers, who expressed distress but assured that they are in good condition and receiving timely food. The workers emphasized the importance of a safe and thorough rescue operation, even if it takes time. The Chief Minister noted the collaborative efforts of the central and state governments, various organizations, and the public in the relief operations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to show great concern and stays updated on the situation. Efforts for vertical drilling are also underway, involving a team from Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The possibility of vertical drilling will be jointly decided by SJVN and ONGC, with preparations already in place.

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