Uttarkashi: A powerful auger machine, airlifted from Delhi by the Indian Air Force (IAF), has begun drilling an escape passage for 40 workers trapped for four days inside a collapsed tunnel on the Char Dham route in Uttarakhand. The American-made machine was brought in after previous attempts with a smaller machine were unsuccessful.
The new drilling machine has already penetrated 5-7 meters through the debris and is expected to reach the trapped workers soon, advancing at a rate of 5-10 meters per hour. The workers, who are reported to be safe, are receiving essential supplies through pipes.
Sections of mild steel pipes will be inserted into the drilled passage to facilitate the workers’ evacuation. A makeshift health facility and 10 ambulances with expert doctors are in place outside the tunnel to provide immediate medical care upon evacuation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is closely monitoring the situation, and the Uttarakhand government has decided to review all under-construction tunnels in the state as part of precautionary measures.