Uttarkashi, Nov 18 (The Street Press India) – Rescuing 40 trapped workers in the partly collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand hit a pause on Friday. The hiccup came when the US-made drill machine, used to bore and insert pipes, encountered a problem.
A powerful drilling machine, flown in from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, has reached Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun. It is en route to Silkyara, where it will be unloaded, assembled, and then put to use for drilling, as confirmed by on-site officials.
When the operation paused on Friday afternoon, the robust auger machine had drilled 24 meters into the debris covering a 60-meter section inside the tunnel.
At approximately 2:45 pm on Friday, while placing the fifth pipe, a loud cracking sound resonated in the tunnel. Following this, the rescue operation was promptly halted, as stated by the NHIDCL in a late-night announcement on Friday.
The loud sound caused panic among the rescue team, prompting a project expert to caution about potential additional collapses nearby. Consequently, the pipe-pushing activity was halted.
Officials mentioned that Mangesh Ghildiyal, Deputy Secretary of the PMO, is heading to Silkyara for an on-site assessment of the ongoing rescue operations.
The tunnel is a project of the central government, being constructed under the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).