After removing the 'head' of the Auger machine trapped inside the tunnel, a team of 'rat miners' who specialize in excavation will carry out manual digging here.
Silkyara tunnel collapse
Vertical drilling, one of the several chalked-out options to bring out 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel, started on Sunday afternoon.
Campaigners say that while development is needed, the breakneck pace is causing problems, including a surge of unregulated building development replacing forests that helped keep hillsides stable.
Drilling was resumed on Friday afternoon, only to be stopped again shortly afterwards due to another encounter with a metal rod.
On Wednesday night, there was hope that after three hours of drilling, the rescue team would reach the labourers, but on Thursday, the Auger machine had to be stopped after hitting a metal shaft.
The drilling of 800 mm diameter steel pipes through the rubble had hit a minor hurdle late Wednesday when some iron rods came in the way of the auger machine.
On Sunday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari after visiting the tunnel site, stated that the area where the workers are trapped measures 8.5 meters in height and extends for 2 kilometers.
The Silkyara tunnel, about 30 km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi, is part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the Central government.
When our Plan A with an old auger machine failed, we went for Plan B, which was using the US-made auger. Plan C is also ready,” he said.
Another auger machine airlifted by the IAF; help of experts in Thailand, Norway sought
All 40 trapped workers safe; collapse occurred between 205 m and 265 m on Silkyara side on Sunday at 5.30 am