Rescue operations continued on Monday at the Uttarakhand tunnel collapse site in Uttarkashi district. To help the authorities in the evacuation of 41 workers stranded inside the partially collapsed tunnel, the Defence Research Development Organisation’s robotics team has employed the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Daksh. The equipment is specifically designed for use on a motorized pan-tilt platform, which can help reach the risky terrain.
What is ROV Daksh?
The Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) – Daksh – is a versatile tool used for detecting and managing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), surveying nuclear and chemical contamination and handling hazardous objects, according to DRDO.
It has ladder climbing abilities and can function for three continuous hours, with the capability to operate over distances exceeding 100 to 500 metres. It serves the bomb disposal units (BDU) of army, police, and paramilitary forces, aiding in handling IEDs and other dangerous substances. The ROV Daksh features a motorized pan-tilt platform and can be controlled remotely within a 500-meter range.
Its manipulator arm can handle hazardous objects weighing up to 20kg from 2.5 meters and 9kg from 4 metres away. Daksh demonstrates the ability to climb stairs and maneuver steep slopes, with durable rubber wheels capable of withstanding blast impacts.
It can tow suspicious platforms and operate continuously for three hours once fully charged. It is equipped with multiple cameras, IED handling tools, nuclear biological chemical (NBC) reconnaissance systems, a master control station (MCS), and a shotgun.
The ROV Daksh, along with the MCS, is transported using a specially designed carrier vehicle for deployment and mobility.
Other organisations working at the tunnel site
The trapped workers have been receiving essentials through a 4-inch compressor pipeline. They have been getting supplies like chickpeas, puffed rice, dry fruits and medications.
The National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is currently installing a new 6-inch pipeline for food supply. They have completed drilling 39 metres out of 60, with plans to continue from the Silkyara end once safety measures are ensured.
Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is working on a separate vertical pipeline for essential supplies. To support this initiative, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has finished constructing an access road for RVNL’s convenience.
Meanwhile, the Tehri Hydroelectric Development Corporation (THDC) is set to commence micro tunneling from the Barkot end, having mobilised heavy machinery. Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) will undertake vertical drilling to aid in the rescue of the trapped laborers.
To support these operations, equipment has been brought in from Gujarat and Odisha.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has initiated preliminary work for vertical drilling from the Barkot end, with BRO already underway in constructing an access road to mobilise machines for ONGC and SJVNL.
(With inputs from agencies)