Rescue Efforts Intensify as Stranded Workers Await Extraction at Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarakhand

Amidst the ongoing efforts to rescue 41 labourers trapped for over 15 days inside the Silkyara tunnel, a major development emerged early Monday as the auger machine’s blades, previously stuck in the rubble, were successfully removed. However, the operation faces a new challenge with the removal of 1.5 meters of damaged pipe that stalled progress.

The breakdown of the drilling machine within the collapsed Silkyara-Barkot tunnel posed a setback, compelling rescuers to focus on dislodging the blade to recommence efforts. Presently, plans are underway to manually clear the remaining debris to access the stranded workers, as confirmed by officials involved in the operation.

Notably, six rat hole miners have arrived from Delhi and Jhansi, tasked with navigating the smaller tunnels and engaging in manual excavation. Simultaneously, vertical drilling commenced atop the partially collapsed tunnel, covering 31 meters of the required 86-meter distance on its second day. This approach emerged after the auger machine’s breakdown.

Further aid arrived in the form of a unit from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian army, the Madras sappers, lending support to the rescue operations on Sunday.

The trapped labourers hail from states like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Assam, and Himachal Pradesh. Their roles within the tunnel work span skilled positions earning Rs 24,000 and unskilled labour at Rs 18,000 monthly.