Amid the ongoing mission to rescue 41 workers trapped in the collapsed tunnel on the 10th day since the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse, Additional Secretary Technical, Road and Transport Mahmood Ahmed on Tuesday said that the time from tonight till now is the ‘most crucial’ and If everything goes right, something ‘good’ will happen. The news’ will emerge in the next 40 hours, ANI reported.
Ahmed said rescue teams are now pushing 800 mm-diameter pipes through the telescoping method instead of the 900 mm used earlier.
“From this morning, we started the process of horizontal drilling. Four 900-mm-diameter pipes of 6 meters each were pushed to 21-22 meters last week before hitting an obstacle. Now we have decided that We will lay 800 meter-mm-diameter pipe through telescoping method. We have started that work. After that, we will do further drilling inside it with the American auger machine. For us, it is a full day from tonight till tomorrow Most important,” ANI quoted Additional Secretary Ahmed as saying.
As per the earlier rescue plan, it was planned to push 900 mm diameter pipes using horizontal drilling equipment to create an escape route for the trapped workers.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), while sharing details about the progress made towards reaching the trapped workers, said the focus would be on “horizontal digging” rather than finding routes through vertical digging as the rock formation had This has created challenges for vertical drilling.
Ahmed said that out of the total 60 meter length of horizontal drilling from the Silkyara end, there is about 22-45 meters of debris.
“Not only this, we are doing horizontal drilling from the other side (Barkot) and the work has been handed over to Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC),” ANI quoted Ahmed as saying.
“If everything goes well, we will have some ‘good news’ in the next 40 hours,” Ahmed said while addressing a press conference.
Rescue teams on Monday evening managed to lay a 6-inch pipe through which solid food and mobile chargers were sent inside the collapsed section of the Silkyara tunnel.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami for the second consecutive day to inquire about the progress of the rescue effort.
Dhami said on social media that he informed the PM about using endoscopic cameras to communicate with the workers. “The Prime Minister said that the safe evacuation of all workers is our top priority,” the CM posted.
The Chief Minister also indicated that the incident would be investigated after the workers were rescued. “Action will definitely be taken against all suspicions but right now the priority is to bring out all the workers safely,” he said.
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Updated: Nov 22, 2023, 12:28 am IST