To address both the physical and mental well-being of the 41 trapped workers inside Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel, recommendations have been made for them to engage in physical exercise and maintain regular communication. According to news agency Reuters, psychiatrist Abhishek Sharma, sent to the tunnel site, advised the men to walk within the 2-km confined area, practice light yoga, and sustain regular conversations among themselves as a means of occupying their time.
“Sleep is very important for them … and as of now they have been sleeping well and not reported any difficulties in sleeping,” Sharma was further quoted as saying by Reuters, noting the workers’ high spirits and eagerness to be rescued soon.
A video released by news agency ANI on Tuesday showcased food being packed for the trapped workers, set to be delivered through a six-inch pipeline to their location.
On November 12, 41 labourers were trapped as sections of the Uttarakhand’s Silkyara-Dandalgaon tunnel collapsed due to a landslide on Diwali day. Situated about 30 km from Uttarkashi’s district headquarters and a seven-hour drive from Dehradun, the tunnel forms part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the central government.
Using an endoscopic camera sent through a narrow pipe, rescuers managed to make contact with the workers for the first time on Tuesday. This pipe serves as the conduit for delivering air, food, and water to the trapped individuals.
The six-inch pipeline inserted by rescuers through the debris of the collapsed Silkyara tunnel, supplemented the existing four-inch tube which was used for providing oxygen, dry fruits, and medicines to the affected section beyond the rubble. This larger pipeline is now fully operational, enhancing the support efforts at the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi.
What food has been prepared to send for the trapped workers?
Abhishek Ramola, the hotel owner responsible for preparing food for those trapped, told news agency ANI, “We have cooked food for the people trapped inside. We are giving rice and paneer today in the food. We have made around 150 packets for them. All items have been prepared under the supervision of the doctor…We have given all easy-to-digest food.”
Sanjeet Rana, a cook, said,“We have cooked veg pulao, mattar paneer, and butter chapati for the people trapped inside. We have packed the food in an accurate portion. The food is less spicy and less oily…”
Around 5-10 kilograms each of various fruits like apples, oranges, sweet lime, and five dozen bananas have been successfully delivered inside. Additionally, packets containing medicine, salt, and electrolytes have also been dispatched.
They can be saved in less than 3 days if horizontal drilling works
Officials on Tuesday said that the government’s primary focus is on “horizontal drilling” to free all 41 workers trapped inside Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel. They expressed optimism that the rescue might be completed in “less than three days” if no challenges, such as encountering hard rocks, arise during the process.
However, they also highlighted the potential for a prolonged rescue operation in case the horizontal drilling encounter difficulties, prompting the exploration of alternative methods.
The government has initiated a comprehensive ‘five-option action plan’ to facilitate the workers’ rescue. Anurag Jain, secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways said “vertical drilling stands as the second-best choice,” elaborating on the simultaneous operation of rescue efforts across multiple fronts.
Regarding the timeline, PTI quoted Jain as saying, “If everything goes well, it may take 2-2.5 days to rescue the trapped workers, in case no obstacles in the form of hard rocks are encountered during the horizontal drilling process.”
He highlighted the prevalent international practice of utilising Augur boring machines for horizontal drilling as the current strategic approach.