HP tunnel collapse: Two traced workers ‘fine but thirsty’

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2015 00:25 IST
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh at the mishap site on Thursday. The CM visited Tihri village to monitor relief and rescue operations. HT Photo

The authorities have sent in dry fruit, glucose powder, and water for the labourers trapped inside the collapsed tunnel at Thiri near Bilaspur town, even as chief minister Virbhadra Singh is monitoring the rescue efforts at the site.

Rescuers established contact with the two laborers — Satish Tomar, a resident of Taru village of Sirmaur, and Mani Ram of Kerari village in Mandi district — on Wednesday.

The whereabouts of a third worker, Hridya Ram, a resident of Dairgi village of Sundarnagar, are still not known. Hirdaya Ram had joined the construction work at the site only three days before the tragedy struck.

“Both Satish and Mani Ram told me that they were hale and hearty,” Bilaspur deputy commissioner Manasi Thakur Sahay told HT.

Sahay communicated with the traced workers after a team of engineers and workers bore a 50m hole vertically and sent in cameras to know their condition and get images.

Sahay, however, said the workers told her that they were thirsty as they had had no water since the mishap on Saturday last.

The deputy commissioner also told the two workers to break open windows of dumpers and trucks inside the collapsed tunnel and use the vehicles as shelter.

The tunnel was being constructed as part of the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane road project.

Virbhadra goes inside tunnel

Meanwhile, chief minister Virbhadra Singh postponed some of his assignments for the day and rushed to Tihra village at 6am on Thursday to monitor relief and rescue operations.

The chief minister went inside the tunnel right up to the point where the tunnel is blocked. He expressed satisfaction over the rescue operations and consoled the family members of the three trapped workers.

The chief minister separately talked to each of the family members and assured them of “all possible help” from the government.

“I want that the relief and rescue operations be carried out as per technical specifications, and carefully,” Virbhadra Singh said, urging the families of the trapped workers to be patient.

The chief minister also held lengthy discussions with RS Rao, the tunnel director who is also looking after the Rohtang Tunnel Project and leads the rescue operations.

The army and a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Bhatinda have also been made available for the rescue operations.

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