Hopeful Progress: Trapped Workers in Himalayan Tunnel Nearing Rescue

Hopeful Progress: Trapped Workers in Himalayan Tunnel Nearing Rescue

Rescue operations in India are nearing a successful conclusion as efforts to reach 41 men trapped in a collapsed Himalayan tunnel for over two weeks are making significant progress.

The low-wage workers, hailing from India's poorest states, have been stuck in the 4.5 km tunnel in Uttarakhand since its collapse on November 12.

Using unconventional "rat miners," deployed after machinery failures, rescuers are optimistic about reaching the trapped individuals on Tuesday.

Senior officer Deepak Patil noted that only 6 or 7 meters remain to be drilled through, with more than 50 meters of the estimated 60 meters of debris successfully cleared.

Despite challenges, the trapped men have been provided essential supplies, including food, water, light, oxygen, and medicines through a pipe.

The rescue efforts faced setbacks in digging a tunnel using machines, leading to the introduction of the "rat miners," experts in a primitive yet effective method, often used in challenging terrains like coal deposits.

The collapsed tunnel is a part of the ambitious $1.5 billion Char Dham highway project, spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The project aims to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890-km network of roads.

While the cause of the collapse hasn't been disclosed, the region's susceptibility to landslides, earthquakes, and floods raises concerns about infrastructure stability.

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