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Latest visual shot by ANI from the Silkyara tunnel site
Latest visual shot by ANI from the Silkyara tunnel site

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue ops: Platform for auger machine stabilised, drilling to resume soon

ANI | Updated: Nov 24, 2023 09:25 IST

Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) [India], November 24 (ANI): A 25-tonne platform mounting the auger machine being used to drill through the debris in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand has been repaired, and rescue operations to evacuate 41 workers trapped inside is expected to resume soon, a top-level official said on Friday morning.
The platform on which the equipment was mounted had developed some cracks when the rescue operation was underway on Thursday, and the process of horizontal drilling through the debris had to be paused.
"The problem encountered in the platform on which the American auger machine was mounted has been fixed and now the machine is running smoothly on the platform," a top official told ANI.
However, the official said that a team from the Defence Research and Development Organisation will study the situation for further operation.
Rescue teams had managed to drill through upto a distance of 46.8 meters of the roughly 55 metres of debris behind which the workers have been trapped and insert pipes in the space cleared. According to the rescue plan, the trapped workers will have to crawl through the escape passage pipes to the mouth of the tunnel.
"Today, the DRDO team will first try to see the situation beyond 48 meters (where the pipeline has been laid) through scanning with special equipment which can probably be called a camera, before starting further drilling. The team will check whether there is no problem with drilling further," the official said.
He said that the machine used by the team of the DRDO will scan up to the next 20 meters to estimate the situation.
"The process of drilling will be started after the scanning report of DRDO," the official said.
Officials said that no specific timelines should be assumed however if all goes well and the rescue work does not face any obstruction then workers will be out by Saturday afternoon.
Today marks Day 13 of the beginning of the the rescue operation.
On November 12, a portion of the under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot collapsed and 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, which is complete, including concrete work that provides safety to the workers. (ANI)