The entire team met the CM who praised them for their contribution and helped extracting the trapped workers.
In one of the biggest rescue operations in Indian history, the 41 construction workers who had been trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi since November 12 were safely rescued on Tuesday night.
They spent 17 days or nearly 400 hours confined to a 400 meter buffer zone of the tunnel with the only exit blocked under the rubble.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hailed their patience and grit to survive for so long in challenging conditions.
When they came out, they were in all smiles. That was a testament to their mental strength.
The workers were being provided food, water, medicines and other necessary items needed to survive through a six inch pipe that was pushed through the rubble in the first phase of the rescue operation.
The second phase, which involved tunneling an escape passage proved a herculean task as machines failed and authorities were forced to take help of an outlawed technique – ‘rat hole mining’ – to extract them.
In between the tunnel collapse on November 12 and their rescue on November 28, the trapped workers kept each other’s morale high.
During the 17 days of confinement, they kept praying in silence and played ludo to kill time. To keep them fresh and in good hygiene, they bathed in natural water.
“We were like brothers, we were together. We used to take a stroll in the tunnel after dinner. I used to tell them to do morning walks and yoga. We would like to thank the Uttarakhand government, especially the CM, VK (Singh) sahib,” Saba Ahmed, one of the workers told PM Modi during their interaction.
Their succesful rescue, that involved nearly 2000 men, will go down in the history as one the greatest humanitarian efforts.
Tunneling experts from India and abroad, NDRF, SDRF and local state authorities worked tirelessly through the day and night to reach them.
The worker are now under the care of doctors in a medical facility set up at a community health centre in Chinyalisaur and will be discharged soon.