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U’khand tunnel rescue: Drilling complete, exit pipe laid, says CM Dhami; evacuation to begin shortly

Ambulances and other relief teams stationed at the Silkyara tunnel site have been asked to remain on stand by.

U’khand tunnel rescue: Drilling complete, exit pipe laid, says CM Dhami; evacuation to begin shortly

Latest picture of Uttarkashi Tunnel rescue operation that is underway to rescue the 41 trapped workers (Photo: ANI)

Ambulances are ready, police, NDRF, SDRF and medical teams have been stationed at collapsed Silkyara tunnel site were alerted on Tuesday afternoon as rescuers said they can start evacuating trapped workers any time.

Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has announced that escape passage drilling work to reach trapped 41 workers was completed as the last steel pipe was pushed at its place.

“By the grace of Baba Baukh Nag Ji, prayers of crores of countrymen and the tireless work of the teams engaged in the rescue operation, pipe laying work in the tunnel to evacuate workers has been completed. Soon all the brothers trapped in the tunnel will be taken out” said Dhami in his X post.

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Earlier, official has said that only one pipe was left to be pushed inside the debris.

“Only one pipe is left to be pushed inside the debris to complete escape passage works. Pipe has to be welded and debris muck removed from the passage drilled manually. After this welded steel pipe will be pushed inside the de-mucked passage. Work is on and we hope to get good news by evening” said rescue operation head and additional secretary Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways(MoRTH) Mehmood Ahmed coming out of the tunnel where rat miners were working incessantly to drill escape passage to reach to the trapped persons.

Uttarakhand secretary and state government’s nodal officer for the rescue and relief works at Silkyara, Neeraj Khairwal said “55.3 meters escape passage drilling has been completed. Nearly 1.7 metres are left as we expect 57-59 metres debris width to be cleared. Its looking very positive. Seeing at speed of the work we hope to reach trapped workers by evening.”

Ahmed further informed that vertical escape passage drilling and another horizontal passage work from Barkot end have not been stopped. He Nearly 44 metres of vertical drilling work has been completed.

Khairwal further informed NDRF SDRF teams are working together to evacuate workers once passage work is is over. They have done good exercises. Mock drills and detailed discussions were with all other agencies engaged in rescue works to finalise standard operation process (SoP) for evacuating the trapped workers. First NDRF and SDRF teams will go inside and then was workers will be taken out one to two at time. It will take 2-3 hours to evacuate trapped workers once started” said Khairwal.

According to Khairwal doctors and medical teams have also been alerted to be present at the rescue site as 41 ambulances are kept in reserve to carry workers to the 41-bed makeshift hospital at Chinayalisaur airstrip.

Workers have also been sent black glasses to wear them while coming out of the tunnel. Official said this is being done to prevent the worker’s vision from coming in direct contact with the sunlight.

Meanwhile CM Pushkar Singh Dhami once again flew to Silkyara to tunnel to take stock of the things along with union minister of state for Road Transport and Highways.

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