Thursday, December 7, 2023

International experts oversee rescue efforts for trapped Uttarakhand tunnel workers


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Shillong, November 20: As the race against time continues to evacuate 41 workers trapped in an under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi, a team of international tunnelling experts, led by Arnold Dix, President of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, arrived at the site on Monday.

With the rescue operation now in its ninth day, here’s a breakdown of how various agencies are collaborating to reach and rescue the trapped workers.

ONGC’s Vertical Drilling: The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is tasked with vertical drilling at the Barkot end of the Silkyara tunnel on the Char Dham route. The ONGC drilling head is expected to submit a report after visiting the site on Monday.

BRO’s Road Alignment: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) will finalize the road alignment based on the ONGC report by November 22 (Wednesday). The BRO has made significant progress in completing the access road leading to the tunnel.

RVNL’s Vertical Drilling and Tunnel Construction: Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is responsible for vertical drilling at the Silkyara end and is set to complete it by November 26 (Sunday). RVNL is also planning a 170-metre tunnel using specific equipment, scheduled for completion by November 23 (Thursday).

Water Resources and THDC India Ltd: Water resources with recycling options are being identified, and the district magistrate’s permission is sought for using the state government pipe. THDC India Ltd will construct a 483-metre tunnel, with tunnel boring commencing on Monday.

NHIDCL’s Tunnel Strengthening: The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) is responsible for strengthening the tunnel and constructing an escape route. Emergency services will be facilitated through a 150 mm steel pipe, currently in progress.

NHPC and SJVNL’s Borehole Drilling: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) are tasked with drilling a 1-1.2 metre-diameter borehole at the Silkyara end, with work scheduled to commence on Monday.

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