Uttarkashi Tunnel Rescue Operation: The Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation is a massive effort to save 41 workers who have been trapped inside a partially collapsed under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand, India, since November 12, 2023. The tunnel is part of the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project, which is being executed by state-run THDC India Ltd.
The rescue operation involves multiple agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Indian Army, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
They use a variety of equipment and techniques, such as an American auger machine, a plasma cutter, a rock breaker, and vertical drilling, to bore through the debris and create an escape route for the trapped workers.
However, the officials have maintained that the workers are safe and in contact with the rescue team through a pipe, which also supplies them with food, water, oxygen, and medicines. The workers have also been given mobile phones, board games, and books to alleviate their stress and boredom.
As of November 26, 2023, the rescue operation has entered its 15th day and is expected to be over soon. The rescue team has drilled 48 metres out of the required 60 metres to reach the trapped workers. A special ward at a local health centre and 41 ambulances have been kept ready to attend the workers as soon as they get out.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, have been closely monitoring the situation and expressing their concern and support for the workers and their families.
Uttarkashi Tunnel Rescue Operation: What caused the tunnel collapse?
The exact cause of the tunnel collapse is still under investigation, but some possible factors are:
- A landslide nearby caused heavy debris to fall on the tunnel, leading to its collapse. The mounds of debris cut off the oxygen supply to the workers.
- The tunnel was being constructed by a private company that may have ignored nature and science and evaded environmental laws and regulations. The company may have compromised the quality and safety standards of the tunnel.
- The tunnel was part of the Char Dham all-weather road project, which has been criticized by environmentalists and experts for its ecological and social impacts. The project may have increased the vulnerability of the Himalayan region to natural disasters and climate change.