Uttarkashi Tunnel Accident: 40 Laborers Rescued After 36 Hours of Being Trapped, All Safe

On Diwali day, a tunnel that was under construction in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand collapsed at around 4 AM, trapping 40 workers inside. This tunnel, which was being built on the Brahmakamal and Yamunotri National Highway, spans approximately 4.5 kilometers in length and was under construction between Silkyaara and Dhanolti.

The stranded laborers come from different regions including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh. A joint effort by organizations like the NDRF, SDRF, ITBP, BRO, and National Highway is underway to rescue these laborers, and around 200 or more people are engaged in the operation, which has been ongoing for 36 hours.

CM Pushkar Singh Dhami has also arrived at the incident site. Uttarkashi’s CEO, Prashant Kumar, stated that they had gone approximately 15 meters inside the tunnel, with around 35 meters more to go to reach the stranded workers. They are continuously in contact with the workers and have been supplying them with oxygen, food, and water through a pipeline.

The Assistant Commandant of NDRF, Karmveer Singh, explained that plastering work was being carried out in the initial 200 meters of the tunnel. However, no plastering work was performed further down, which was the cause of this accident. It is expected that the workers will be safely rescued by this evening.

Local TikTok users are also helping in coordinating the rescue operation and establishing contact with the trapped laborers. They have been instrumental in creating a path to bring the laborers out. District Emergency Operation Centers are closely monitoring the situation and are conducting rescue operations with dedication. The stranded laborers are from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

The Silkyaara Tunnel is being constructed as part of the Char Dham Road project in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. After completion, it will reduce the distance between Uttarkashi and Yamunotri by 26 kilometers. This tunnel is a crucial part of the Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage route, which starts from Dharasu and goes all the way to Janaki Chatti. The route will extend within the Radhikot expansion.

During the monsoon season in areas like Shiyaala, when there is heavy rainfall, the Radhikot expansion is prone to landslides and the closure of the Yamunotri Highway. This, in turn, affects the three main talukas (administrative divisions) that are connected with Yamunotri: Barkot, Purola, and Mori, which fall under Uttarkashi district. To ensure a smoother and more reliable journey for the Char Dham Yatra and to mitigate the impact of heavy rainfall, a double-lane tunnel is being constructed under the Ol-Weather Road project.

Niyati Rao

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