Uttarkashi tunnel

It’s Getting Technically More Complex: NDMA On Uttarkashi Ops

Uttarkashi tunnel

A member of the National Disaster Management Authority, Lt General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain on Saturday said that the rescue operation at Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel has become technically complex adding that rescuers are working in an environment of unpredictability.

Syed Ata Hasnain said that all 41 workers who remained trapped in the tunnel were stable and safe.

Addressing a press briefing in Delhi, NDMA Member Syed Ata Hasnain said, “You are seeing that this operation is getting technically complex. Earlier there were not many complexities and that is why some people in media were assuming timelines but we never gave timelines from our side. We are conducting rescue operations on hills. We are working in an environment of unpredictability.”

“I have experienced that when you do something with mountains, you cannot predict anything. This is exactly a situation like war,” he added.

He further informed that advanced machinery is being airlifted by the Indian Air Force to bring the damaged part of the auger machine out from the tunnel.

“The good news is that the 41 workers are stuck inside are stable. All the basic things are being sent. The relatives of the workers have also come, and they are talking to the workers. As far as the rescue operation is concerned, there are certain problems we are facing. There has been damage in the auger machine and some part of it has not come out,” Hasnain said.

“Advanced machinery is required to bring that part of the auger machine out which is being airlifted by the Indian Air Force and it will reach the tunnel site soon,” he added.

NDMA member further informed that the process of drilling will start in the next one to two days.

“Whatever methods we are using right now, we have to have some patience. We need to understand that a very difficult operation is going on. Two methods are being used currently, but a third method that is draft method may also be used soon. Currently, the situation is that the 47-meter digging has been done, we have to keep it stable and remove the broken part of the Auger machine. I feel in the next 1-2 days the drilling will again start,” he said.

Stating that the rest of the drilling will be done manually, Vishal Chauhan, Member, NHAI said, “As we have reached 47 meters. We now have to go 12-15 meters more. It could be 10, 12 or 14 meters, that we have to go manually now.”

“The environmental impact assessment of this project has also been done. There are several things that cannot be predicted but our first priority is to rescue the workers,” he added.

Earlier today Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said a plasma cutter is being flown in from Hyderabad to cut the auger machine that has got stuck in the debris of the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.

After visiting the site of the tunnel inside which 41 labourers have been trapped after it collapsed on November 12, Dhami said that the auger machine that was involved in drilling through the debris from the Silyara side is expected to be pulled out by tomorrow morning after which manual drilling will begin.

Meanwhile, a 12-member team of the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) is on standby mode to do vertical drilling on the tunnel. A final decision on the vertical drilling option is likely to be taken by Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

After a portion of the tunnel caved in on November 12, the debris falling in the 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side of the tunnel trapped 41 labourers inside. The workers are trapped in a 2 km-built portion. (ANI)

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