Seven days on, 40 workers continue to remain trapped in collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel

Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi. [Photo: ANI]

Uttrakshi: For the seventh consecutive day, a group of forty workers remained trapped in a collapsed road tunnel in Uttrakshi town of Uttarakhand.

The rescue operation faced a setback when machine bearings were damaged during drilling, leading to an interruption in the efforts, AFP reported on Saturday.

A new drilling machine is expected to arrive today, providing a renewed opportunity for rescuers to proceed. Devendra Patwal, a disaster management official, told AFP that the team has covered a 24-meter stretch, but the trapped workers may need up to 60 meters for a successful escape.

The administration’s changing timelines for the rescue have caused frustration among those involved. Despite some workers experiencing fever and body aches, officials have stated that there has been no deterioration in their overall condition. Supplies, including nuts, roasted chickpeas, popcorn, and medicine, are regularly sent to them through a pipe every two hours.

Maintaining contact with two doctors at the site, the rescue team is ensuring the physical and mental well-being of the trapped workers during this challenging time.

The construction workers have been trapped since Sunday due to a landslide that caused a section of the 4.5-kilometer tunnel they were building to collapse, approximately 200 meters from the entrance.

The hilly terrain’s susceptibility to landslides and subsidence adds complexity to the ongoing rescue operation in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state known for its Hindu temples.

The area sees constant construction activities to accommodate the influx of pilgrims and tourists.

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