Uttarkashi Tunnel Rescue: Manual Drilling Set to Supplement Mechanical Efforts, Says NDMA

Uttarkashi: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has announced that manual horizontal digging will soon begin to supplement the ongoing top-down drilling efforts in the rescue operation to free 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi. This decision comes in response to challenges encountered with the auger drill, a corkscrew-like device that became entangled in debris after drilling up to 46.8 meters.

Currently, the primary focus of the rescue operation is on vertical and manual horizontal drilling. The broken parts of the auger machine, which were removed using a plasma cutter, have necessitated the initiation of manual digging by rat-hole miners. Additionally, alternative approaches, including horizontal drilling from the Barkot end of the tunnel, are being explored.

Creating an escape passage will require vertical drilling of 86 meters and the installation of 1.2-meter diameter pipes. This secondary option commenced on Sunday. Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), a member of the NDMA, has assured the public that the government is fully committed to safely rescuing the trapped workers, who have been stranded since November 12. The collaborative rescue operation involves both private and public agencies.

Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary PK Mishra, Home Secretary Ajay K Bhalla, and Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S S Sandhu have been actively monitoring and assessing the ongoing rescue operations, emphasizing the government’s unwavering dedication to this critical mission.

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