It’s Diwali for rescued workers’ families in UP! - Hindustan Times
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It’s Diwali for rescued workers’ families in UP!

Nov 29, 2023 05:44 AM IST

Festivities rent the air as soon as the news of the men walking out of theSilkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand reached their families in Uttar Pradesh

HT Correspondents

Manjeet Chauhan’s mother holding sweets with eyes on the TV set on Tuesday. (Sourced)
Manjeet Chauhan’s mother holding sweets with eyes on the TV set on Tuesday. (Sourced)

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SHRAVASTI/ VARANASI/LAKHIMPUR Tuesday evening was a “new dawn” for the workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand since November 12 and their families. Festivities rent the air as soon as the news of the men walking out of the tunnel reached their families in Uttar Pradesh.

Families in Motipur Kala, a Tharu village situated on the bank of Raniyapur Dam near the Indo-Nepal border in UP’s Shravasti district, erupted with joy, greeted each other and burst crackers. As none of them had a TV set, they had been taking minute-to-minute updates from Uttarkashi through cell phones.

Six men of the village – Satydev, 44, Ankit Kumar, 25, Ram Milan, 32, Ram Sundar, 26, Jay Prakash, 22 and Santosh Kumar Visheshar - had gone to Uttarkashi district of Uttrakhand in August to earn a better livelihood. They were working inside the Silkyara tunnel when a portion of it collapsed on November 12. A total 41 labourers, including these six, were stranded in the tunnel since November 12.

As the incident took place on the eve of Diwali, most of the people in the village did not celebrate the festival of lights.

On getting the news about the safe rescue of Ram Sundar, his mother Dhanpati said she will arrange a feast for the villagers. Similarly, his wife Sheela said: “Today is Diwali for all of us. Every day, our six-year-old daughter Surabhi used to ask when her father would come. Now the day has come when I can answer my daughter. We are eagerly waiting to see him here in the house.”

Guddu, uncle of Santosh, distributed sweets among the family to celebrate their happiness. “Santosh’s father died 11 years ago. Hence the family was worried about him. His mother had fallen ill and stopped talking to anybody after coming to know about the tunnel collapse. Now, she is delighted,” he said.

“I was losing hope with each passing day. But I am thankful to God and the administration too for rescuing all the trapped men safely,” said Videshini, mother of Santosh.

Ram Charan, younger brother of Jay Prakash, said: “It is like a festival for the family as we were waiting for him for the past 17 days.”

Dilip Rana, a Class 9 student at Jawahar Navoday Vidyalay (Shravasti), joined school on Tuesday after his trapped father Satydev’s insistence. He was not going to school after coming to know about his father being trapped in the tunnel.

Ram Milan’s wife Sunita, who had taken ill after hearing about the tragic incident, expressed pleasure over the safe rescue of her husband.

Faces of Akhilesh Singh’s family members lit up with joy when with news of his safe return from the tunnel reached his house in Gharwaspur village of Mirzapur district.

“We are thankful to God as our prayers have been answered. Special pooja was done and Sundarkand of Ramcharitmanas was recited under the guidance of Pandit Ji at Akhilesh’s house on Tuesday evening,” said Akhilesh’s uncle Vijai Singh.

“By the grace of the Lord, my son is safe. I will visit Lattheshwar Mahadev Temple in Lathhiya village and offer special prayers. We will also offer special prayers at Hanuman Temple in Gharwaspur,” said Akhilesh’s mother Anju Singh.

His father Ramesh Singh said: “I prayed to God for the safety of my son and 40 others. Our prayers have been answered.” Akhilesh’s wife Nidhi Singh was also and eagerly awaiting his return.

The successful operation in Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel on Tuesday also brought relief and happiness to rescued worker Manjeet Chauhan’s father Chaudhary Chauhan, mother Chaudhrain, uncles Amarnath and Shatrohan Lal, sisters Chunni and Rachha and his grandfather Bindra Prasad in Lakhimpur Kheri’s Bhairampur village.

Overwhelmed with joy, Manjeet’s mother Chaudharain distributed ‘laddoos’ among those who assembled at her house to congratulate the family. “We thank the engineers, government and all those who sent their good wishes. Now, we will celebrate Diwali after our son’s return,” she said.

Manjeet’s uncle Shatrohan Lal said: “We got a call from an officer from Delhi who informed us about the safe release of Manjeet. Since then, all of us were glued to our TV screen to watch Manjeet coming out of the tunnel.”

He expressed gratitude to God and all those engaged in the rescue operation, saying: “We can’t express in words how relieved we are after Manjeet’s safe release.”

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