Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: Who is rat-hole miner Munna Qureshi, hailed as operation's hero?
Rat-hole miners on Tuesday made the breakthrough possible in the Uttarkashi rescue operation as Munna Qureshi became the first miner to reach the trapped men.
As the massive 17-day rescue operation in the Silkyara tunnel successfully ended on Wednesday and all 41 workers walked out of the entrapment healthy, the rescuers were in the limelight receiving all the praises for their restless hard work and grit. PM Modi in his message saluted the spirit of all the people associated with the rescue operation and said everyone involved in the mission set an amazing example of humanity and teamwork. Many government agencies with their huge forces were deployed in the unpredictable terrain of the Uttarakhand tunnel 24X7 though the last mile was achieved by the rat-hole miners. And Munna Qureshi who was the first one to reach the workers has been hailed as the hero of the operation.
Who is Munna Qureshi? The first rescuer to meet the 41 men
Munna Qureshi is a 29-year-old rat-hole miner working in a Delhi company -- a trenchless engineering services company that clears sewer and water lines. He was one of the dozens of rat-hole miners who were brought to Uttarakhand on Monday to remove the last 12 metres of debris.
Rat-hole miners were the last resort of the rescue operation after the US-made auger machine was extracted from the tunnel after it went kaput. Rat-hole mining is a method of taking out coal by digging small pits -- but it was banned in 2014 as a coal-extracting method for being unscientific.
Munna Qureshi said he removed the last rock on Tuesday evening and saw the 41 trapped workers. "They hugged me, cheered in applause and thanked me profusely," Munna Qureshi said.
Monu Kumar, Wakeel Khan, Feroz, Parsadi Lodhi and Vipin Rajout were the other rat-hole miners who reached the trapped men subsequently after their arduous operation. The men inside waiting long for a breakthrough from the other side erupted in joy and lifted the miners. "They gave me almonds," one of the miners said. The miners stayed there for half an hour before the NDRF came to take the trapped men.
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