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Rat-Hole Mining Effort: Traditional Techniques Employed by Rescuers in Uttarakhand as Modern Machinery Fails

Rat hole mining, a renowned technique in Meghalaya, involves workers drilling small holes in the earth for coal mining.

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Uttarkashi, Nov 27 (The Street Press India) – Rescuers are now using rat-hole mining, an old-school approach, to free 41 workers stuck for 15 days. Heavy machines, like the American auger, couldn’t break through the debris for a safe escape route, prompting this traditional rescue method.

Rat hole mining, known in Meghalaya, involves drilling small holes for coal extraction. At the Silkyara tunnel, Trenchless Engineering Services Pvt. Ltd. and Navayuga Engineers Pvt. Ltd. have called in 12 experts from Delhi, Jhansi, and other areas to perform horizontal rat hole mining in the collapsed section of the main tunnel.

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The experts are set to manually drill 10 to 12 meters using hand-held drilling machines. Their primary tools include a hand-held drilling machine for rubble removal and a gas cutter to cut through iron obstacles, according to an official statement.

Neeraj Khairwal, Additional Secretary of the Uttarakhand government and the state’s nodal officer for the rescue, mentioned that a proficient team of workers, assembled for rat hole mining, will manually clear the rubble.

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Khairwal explained, “As they remove the muck, the tunnel pipe (800 mm) will be pushed gradually by the machine through the rubble.”

“We will do the drilling and collect the muck by our hand. We have been doing this for several years,” shared a worker, Mohan Rai, with PTI.

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Rai stated that they’ll be equipped with proper gear, including oxygen masks and eye protection. Using this method, they can clear 5-6 meters of rubble within a 24-hour period.

Rakesh Rajput, another expert, explained that among the three inside the tunnel, one will handle the drilling, another will collect the debris, and the third will push the debris through the trolley. “We have been doing it for years,” Rajput affirmed.

An additional rat hole mining expert mentioned that they have the capability to clear 10 meters of debris or rubble within a span of 20 hours.

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Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddin
Sk Sahiluddin is a seasoned journalist and media professional with a passion for delivering accurate and impactful news coverage to a global audience. As the Editor of The Street Press India, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the editorial direction and ensuring the highest journalistic standards are upheld.
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