Green corridor created for smooth passage of rescued U.P. workers - Hindustan Times
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Green corridor created for smooth passage of rescued U.P. workers

Dec 02, 2023 09:44 AM IST

The Tempo Traveller, carrying eight workers and eight family members, departed from Rishikesh at 3:30 pm on Thursday.

LUCKNOW The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday night established a ‘green corridor’ spanning approximately 450 km along National Highway-30, from Bijnor to Lucknow, to facilitate the safe travel of eight workers and their kin who had been discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh.

A team of doctors examined them before they were relocated to their respective rooms. (HT Photo)
A team of doctors examined them before they were relocated to their respective rooms. (HT Photo)

The Tempo Traveller, carrying eight workers and eight family members, departed from Rishikesh at 3:30 pm on Thursday. The vehicle was accompanied by an ambulance and a police pilot car to ensure a clear passage on the national highway during the night. Passing through seven districts -- Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, and Sitapur --the vehicle reached Lucknow around 6 am on Friday.

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Arun Kumar Mishra, an officer from the Uttar Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), who accompanied the workers from Rishikesh to Lucknow, stated, “The Tempo Traveller travelled on the highway during the night. We stopped at Moradabad for dinner and then resumed the journey. The district and police administration of the districts through which we passed were on alert and in regular contact to monitor the well-being of the workers. The police teams of the districts we traversed escorted us to the borders of the neighbouring districts,” he added.

Upon reaching Lucknow, the workers and their kin were accommodated at the Naimisharanya state guest house. A team of doctors examined them before they were relocated to their respective rooms. The workers were provided with breakfast and lunch before departing for their homes in Shravasti, Lakhimpur Kheri, and Mirzapur districts. The family members of the workers, residing in the village, maintained regular contact during the journey from Rishikesh to Lucknow.

How U.P. SDMA officer led Silkyara tunnel rescue

U.P. SDMA officer Arun Kumar Mishra, stationed in Shravasti district, dedicated 17 days to oversee the rescue operation for 41 workers trapped in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi. Serving as a crucial link between the trapped workers, their families, and coordinating with both Uttarakhand officials and the Uttar Pradesh Relief Department, Mishra diligently provided daily progress reports to the State Rahat control room in Lucknow. Following the workers’ rescue, he escorted them to AIIMS Rishikesh and subsequently traveled with five workers from Shravasti district to Lucknow.

In an interview with HT, Mishra recounted receiving the news of the tunnel collapse and workers’ entrapment on November 12. The U.P. Relief Commissioner’s office directed him on November 13 to Uttarakashi to facilitate coordination with local authorities and agencies involved in the rescue efforts. His primary responsibilities included gathering information about the trapped workers from Uttar Pradesh, compiling and sending reports to the Relief Commissioner’s office.

Upon reaching the Uttarkashi tunnel on November 14, Mishra established contact with the rescue team, learning that a four-inch pipe served as a lifeline for the trapped workers. The UP government initiated communication with the workers’ families, with Mishra personally entering the tunnel with a mobile phone to convey messages of well-being. Despite ongoing debris removal efforts, a roof collapse on November 15 temporarily halted operations. Subsequent challenges included a malfunctioning auger machine and the restoration of the damaged Baukhnag temple, addressed with the assistance of Australian tunnel expert Arnold Dix.

On November 18, a six-inch pipe was successfully pushed through the debris, allowing for the delivery of essential items. A video released on November 21 confirmed the safety of all workers. However, on November 22, a section of shuttering material collapsed, impeding rescue efforts. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was called in to remove the damaged portion of the auger machine.

Launching a three-mode operation on November 27, including the involvement of rat miners, vertical drilling from the tunnel’s top, and drilling from the opposite side, the team eventually succeeded on November 28. The rat miner’s 12-member team, predominantly from Uttar Pradesh, successfully cleared the way, leading to the rescue of all 41 workers, as reported by Mishra.

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