Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling begins, auger machine parts removed | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling begins, parts of auger machine removed. Top updates.

Nov 27, 2023 08:22 PM IST

Here is what you need to know about the recent developments in the Uttarkashi rescue operation.

The mission to rescue the trapped 41 workers in Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel on Monday entered its 16th day.

Heavy machinery sits outside the tunnel during rescue operations where construction workers got trapped in Uttarkashi.(Reuters)
Heavy machinery sits outside the tunnel during rescue operations where construction workers got trapped in Uttarkashi.(Reuters)

Officials are currently carrying the manual drilling to rescue the workers in the collapsed section of the Uttarkashi tunnel.

The vertical drilling of the hill in Silkyara commenced on Sunday afternoon, with around 110 meters of the hill to be dug out for the rescue of the trapped workers. In a fast-paced operation, the machine has already drilled over 30 meters of the hill.

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Here is what you need to know about the recent developments in the Uttarkashi rescue operation:

Uttarkashi rescue operation: Top updates

  • The Uttarakhand government on Monday said that manual horizontal drilling has started at the Silkyara tunnel. “After we removed the parts of the machine which were stuck, the pipeline, which was damaged and had to be cut 1.9 metres, has been pushed in three phases, 0.22 metres, 0.5 metres, 0.2 metres (total 0.9 metres) using the rat mining technique (manual excavation) in last two hours. The speed of pushing the pipeline can vary…” Neeraj Khairwal, Uttarakhand government secretary, said.
  • According to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the manual drilling will be carried out by a team of six members, who will work in groups of three. "There are sensors to monitor movement inside the earth..." NHAI Member Vishal Chauhan was quoted by ANI as saying.
  • Vertical and manual horizontal drilling are the two methods on which rescue efforts are being focused at the moment, according to PTI. Officials involved in the rescue operation are also working on other options, including horizontal drilling from the Barkot end of the tunnel.
  • The process of manual drilling was resorted after the auger drill – a corkscrew-like device with a rotary blade at the front end -- which drilled up to 46.8 metres busted as it hit several hurdles on the way and got entangled in a girder in the debris on Sunday.
  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Member Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd) said that the digging will be done by rat-hole miners. “Broken parts of the auger machine have been removed from the rubble with the help of a plasma cutter flown in from Hyderabad,” he said. He added that both private and public agencies are involved in the rescue operations.
  • Lt Gen Hasnain told ANI that the government is bringing in every possible resource to conduct the rescue operation. “In this kind of an operation, when geology is against us and technology is against us, we cannot make any estimates,” he said.
  • National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Managing Director Mahmood Ahmad, however, said that the vertical drilling at the tunnel will be completed by November 30.
  • Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's principal secretary P K Mishra visited Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel. He took stock of the rescue mission and also communicated with the workers trapped there.
  • Meanwhile, the Adani Group has clarified that it is not involved in the construction of the collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel. “It has come to our notice that some elements are making nefarious attempts to link us to the unfortunate collapse of a tunnel in Uttarakhand. We strongly condemn these attempts and those behind them,” a spokesperson of the conglomerate said in a statement.

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