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Under-Construction Tunnel Collapses in Uttarakhand, Rescue Ops for 40 Trapped

Since yesterday morning, 40 workmen have been trapped within an Uttarakhand tunnel. A multi-agency operation is underway to free them.

About five in the morning yesterday, a tunnel that was still under construction on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway in the Uttarkashi district partially collapsed, trapping forty labourers inside.

The police, the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are all involved in the rescue efforts.

According to a top official who spoke with NDTV, all forty workers are safe and receiving oxygen via a pipe. “Everyone is safe, we are in constant touch with the trapped workers,” said Prashant Kumar, Circle Officer, Uttarkashi.

Mr Kumar said that communication has been established with the trapped workers and they have been sent water and food items.

He said that 20 metres of the slab has been removed so far to open the tunnel and prepare an escape passage for the workers, and around 35 metres are still to be covered. “The team is removing the debris using excavators and other heavy machines,” Mr Kumar said.

Images and videos captured massive blocks of concrete obstructing the large tunnel, and twisted metal bars protruding from the ceiling of the collapsed structure in front of the debris.

The tunnel is intended to link Uttarkashi, in Uttarakhand, to Dandalgaon and Silkyara. It is being constructed as part of the Char Dham Road Project with the intention of cutting the distance between Uttarkashi and Yamunotri Dham by 26 km.

According to officials, the workers who are stuck within the tunnel are from the following states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

Pushkar Singh Dhami, the chief minister, visited the location today and looked over the ongoing rescue effort. “NDRF and SDRF are at the spot. We pray to God for the safe return of everybody. We hope they will be rescued soon,” Mr Dhami said.

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Source: NDTV

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