Two days after tunnel's collapse, Himachal govt seeks army's help

  • Ajay Kumar Upadhyay HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bilaspur Shimla
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2015 21:55 IST
Rescue operations are underway at the mishap site in Bilaspur. HT Photo

Even as the fate of three labourers trapped inside a tunnel two days ago remains unclear, the government has finally sought help from army.

"Rescue efforts are on to retrieve the trapped workers inside the under construction tunnel in Bilaspur. But, the machines are yet to reach. I have spoken to the General Officer Commanding, Western Command, seeking their help," chief minister Virbhadra Singh said.

"We are making every possible effort to rescue the workers," added he. The machines at work could not do much as the debris had been sliding inside, blocking the entrance of the tunnel.

Earth moving excavators were damaged when debris fell on the machine which was attempting to make way to rescue the workers. The rescue teams comprising the Border Road Organisation, Public Works Department and engineers of the company- Himalyan Construction, were attempting to bore a hole from the side of the tunnel to reach up to the trapped workers.

"We have made arrangement to supply oxygen to trapped workers. We are also in touch with NDRF teams," told deputy commissioner (DC), Bilaspur, Manasi Sahay Thakur.

The district administration had admitted to the lapses on part of the construction company. Workers and the locals revealed that the 4-metre-long crack had appeared on the upper portion of the tunnel that later widened leading to flow of debris at the opening of the tunnel. "Though the safety of insiders is our priority now, I do agree there was safety lapse and stringent action will be taken against the guilty," said the deputy commissioner.

On the other hand, the state disaster management authority, headquartered in the state capital, has sought assistance from the tunnel experts of Jaypee, which runs the 1,200 megawatt Karcham Wangtoo Project and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam that operates 1,500 megawatt Nathpa Jhakri project.
"Teams of engineers from Jaypee and SJVNL had moved for Bilaspur while NDRF people would reach the caved-in tunnel by late evening," state disaster management authority's special secretary DD Sharma said here on Monday.

The three workers trapped inside have been identified as Satish Kumar, Sita Ram and Hriday Ram. The incident occurred on Saturday evening when the workers' shift changed and debris slid from the top of the tunnel.

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