How 3-ft pipe will rescue workers trapped inside Uttarakhand tunnel; what's the plan?
Over 160 NDRF, SDRF, BRO and ITBP personnel are racing against time to reach the trapped workers.
After almost 70 hours of painstaking efforts to rescue 40 labourers trapped under the debris of a collapsed under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district, officials are hopeful all of the stranded workers will be able to be evacuated by today. However, a fresh round of landslide on Tuesday caused impediment to the rescue operation as rubble fell from above lead to a stampede-like situation which also left two labourers injured.
"If everything goes as planned, the trapped labourers will be evacuated by Wednesday," Uttarkashi district magistrate Abhishek Ruhela told reporters earlier.
Over 160 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel are racing against time to reach the trapped workers.
All the 40 labourers were hedged inside the tunnel being built between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway which caved in on Sunday following a landslide.
Target evacuation: What's the plan to rescue the workers?
Eight 900-millimetre (almost 3 feet) diameter pipes with a length of six metres each and five pipes of 800-millimetre diameter of the same length, both made of mild steel, have been brought at the evacuation site. The plan is to push through both the pipes -- one after the other -- into the rubble using drilling equipment and create an escape passage for the workers.
The pipes will be inseted through the rubble of the 30-metre section collapsed 270-metre from the mouth of the tunnel from Silkayara side. The process involved to penetrate the pipes is called shotcreting – spraying of concrete on the debris in order to stabilise the loose muck. A hydraulic jack will be used to jam the pipes through the rubble.
The drilling process was kickstarted on Tuesday used an auger machine, and excavators are removing the debris on the way for two days.
An expert team of five engineers from the irrigation department is on the spot to oversee the insertion process of the mild steel pipes through the rubble, the State Emergency Operation Centre said.
Workers ‘doing well’ inside the tunnel
Contact is being maintained with the trapped labourers and the assurance that a huge rescue operation is being carried out by various agencies to evacuate them has also boosted their morale. The labourers on Tuesday told the commandant of Uttarakhand's SDRF, Manikant Mishra, that they were "doing well".
The son of Gabbar Singh Negi, one of the trapped labourers, was allowed to speak to his father for a few seconds on Tuesday. "He said they are safe. He asked us not to worry," told PTI.
However, one of the trapped workers was feeling nauseous and medicines were supplied for him.
(With agency inputs)
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