‘Giving timeline is wrong’: Top official on U'khand tunnel rescue operation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Giving timeline is wrong’: Senior official on Uttarakhand tunnel rescue op; drilling to restart around 11. Top points

Nov 24, 2023 11:08 AM IST

As the drilling operation reaches closer to completion, officials say they are prepared in every way to get the trapped men out.

After 11 days of arduous effort and drilling up to 46.8 metres into the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district, officials believe the rescue operation to evacuate 41 workers from across the rubble of the collapsed structure is likely to be over by today. However, officials said the entire operation is like a ‘war’ and giving a timeline to this drive would not be appropriate as it would only exert pressure on the workforce which is already functioning round the clock under adverse conditions.

Hindu priests pray at a makeshift shrine outside the entrance of a tunnel where workers are trapped after the tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi.(REUTERS)
Hindu priests pray at a makeshift shrine outside the entrance of a tunnel where workers are trapped after the tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi.(REUTERS)

Also read: What are the 5 plans to evacuate trapped workers?

"Many experts are giving opinions that they might be rescued today evening, tomorrow morning but remember these operations are like a war. These operations should not be given a timeline. In wars, we don't know how the enemy will react. Here Himalayan geology is our enemy. From which angles the tunnel has collapsed we don't know," Lt. General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain, a member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said at a press conference.

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He pointed out that catering to the safety of trapped men as well as rescuers is important and it would be wrong to circumscribe the operation within a timeline. “This is challenging work. To keep expecting that rescue will be done in the next two hours puts pressure on the workforce. This is wrong,” he added.

  1. After embarking on the last leg of drilling, the work was halted on Thursday night after the auger machine encountered a technical snag.
  2. Former advisor to Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Bhaskar Khulbe hoped the drilling process would restart around 11-11:30 am. "Ground penetration radar study has shown that there is no metallic obstruction in the next 5 metres," he said.
  3. Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has stayed the night in Uttarkashi to monitor the rescue operation of people trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel. He has set up his temporary camp office there so that there is no hindrance in his daily work.
  4. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief Atul Karwal said the personnel are ‘prepared in every way’ and that they have already done the rehearsals on how to get people out safely. “The boys will go in first…We have put wheels under the stretchers so that when we go in, we can get the people out one by one on the stretcher.”
  5. Keeping all options open, rescuers had also considered getting workers to crawl out of the other side one by one. However, their health condition after 12 days of living under debris without any natural light and having full meals could prevent them from performing the physically challenging task.
  6. According to officials, the NDRF personnel will pull the stretcher, on which every worker will be made to lie down, out with the help of a rope. The rescue pipeline threaded in from the mouth of the tunnel will be cleaned by the personnel to ensure no debris prevents the movement of stretchers, according to Karwal.

(With inputs from agencies)

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