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First visuals of stuck workers; horizontal drilling prime option – Uttarkashi tunnel

Anurag Jain, secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said that under the current circumstances “vertical drilling is the second best option”.

DEHRADUN: The first visuals of the 41 trapped labourers in an under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi brought all-round relief on Tuesday, the 10th day of their stranding behind a heap of about 60 metre rubble.

With hot food being pushed through a 6-inch pipe inserted the previous day, their proper nourishment is now being addressed. It was through this pipe that endoscopic flexi cameras from Delhi were sent in to capture videos of the labourers speaking to their families, doctors, and officials.Uttarkashi

Policywise, too, there was clarity as officials said resuming horizontal drilling was the primary option though it had to be halted last Friday after the auger machine developed a snag. Anurag Jain, secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said that under the current circumstances “vertical drilling is the second best option”.

By the time drilling stopped on Friday, 3-ft wide pipes with a total length of 22 metres had been inserted into the rubble. On Tuesday, 2.7-ft wide pipes, too, were inserted into the 3-ft pipes up to the total length of 22 metres. The challenge is to resume drilling since the auger machine hit a hard obstacle before it stopped.

Parallelly, drilling has been started from the other end of the tunnel — the Badkot side. Col Deepak Patil, in-charge of rescue operations at the tunnel, said, “Drilling work has started from the Badkot end. For this, a team of eight from THDC has arrived. A tunnel of 2-2.5-metre diameter will be prepared from here.” Meanwhile, following an advisory by the I&B ministry advising TV channels not to sensationalise their reportage, the tone of coverage in Uttarakhand softened.

 

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