Himachal: Efforts stepped up to rescue labourers trapped inside tunnel

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2015 23:15 IST
Rescue operations are underway at the mishap site in Bilaspur. HT Photo

The Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday stepped up its efforts to rescue the three labourers trapped inside an under-construction tunnel on Kiratpur-Nerchowk national highway for the past three days.

The Bilaspur administration on Tuesday conducted a joint meeting with the engineers of Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam and Jaiprakash Power Limited that run major hydroelectric projects in the state, experts from defence ministry’s Border Road Organisation (BRO) and a team from National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to discuss coordinated efforts to rescue the workers.

The district administration on Tuesday allowed the media and kin of the trapped labourers to visit the site.

There were 12 workers at the site when the tunnel caved in on Saturday night. While nine of them ran towards the opening of the tunnel, three ran in the opposite direction and got trapped.

Both deputy commissioner Mansi Sahay Thakur and superintendent of police (SP) Balbir Thakur have been overseeing the search and rescue efforts.
Excavators deployed by Himalayan Construction Company have not been able to do much since debris continue to fall along with water ingress. The excavators will now bore holes into the tunnel, vertically and horizontally, so that some relief could reach the trapped labourers.

“Provisions are also being made to place a closed-circuit television camera and a thermal camera to know the status of labourers,” said DC Thakur.

“Engineers from the BRO and various power projects are working in tandem to dig the tunnel horizontally and vertically,” she said, adding, “Experts boring the strategic tunnel beneath Rohtang Pass are also on the spot. Some equipment has been moved in from the Rohtang tunnel, while the construction company has also moved in more machinery,” she said.

“Our main priority is to make provisions of light, water and food to the trapped labourers, though oxygen is being supplied from a lateral pipe,” the DC said.

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