Bhubaneswar: Odisha Labour Minister Sarada Prasad Nayak is set to visit Uttarakhand, where five Odia workers have been trapped in the collapsed under-construction tunnel for the past two weeks. A special team from Odisha, led by the Labour and Employee’s State Insurance Minister, will assess the ongoing rescue efforts at the crash site. The families of the affected Odia workers will also be present in Uttarkashi district.
Minister Nayak urged against labelling the victims as ‘Dadan’ (migrant workers) emphasizing that migrants for work are government-approved. He highlighted the employment opportunities created in Odisha through various schemes and acknowledged the engagement of labourers from other states in the region.
Among the 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel, five are from Odisha. They are Dhiren Nayak and Bisweswar Nayak from Mayurbhanj, Raju Nayak from Balasore, Bhagaban Bhotra from Nabarangpur, and Tapan Mandal from Bhadrak.
The tunnel collapse occurred 14 days ago during work undertaken by Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd for the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
The rescue operation in Uttarkashi is reaching its final stage, with the state government having sent the families of the trapped Odia workers on Friday. Technical glitches led to a temporary halt in drilling operations on that day, prompting the administration to deploy manual cutters for the remaining collapsed tunnel section. After unsuccessful attempts, the rescue teams are now considering the option of vertical drilling to evacuate the trapped workers.