Uttarkashi tunnel collapse Updates | PM Modi urges to pray for 41 labourers, says Govt. ‘leaving no stone unturned’ to get them out

Vertical and manual horizontal drilling are the two methods on which rescue efforts are being focused at the moment. A total of 86 metres have to be drilled vertically to prepare an escape passage

Updated - November 27, 2023 11:17 pm IST

Published - November 27, 2023 07:15 am IST

 Rescue operation is underway in the Silkyara Tunnel where 41 workers are trapped inside after a portion of it collapsed, in Uttarkashi on November 27, 2023

Rescue operation is underway in the Silkyara Tunnel where 41 workers are trapped inside after a portion of it collapsed, in Uttarkashi on November 27, 2023 | Photo Credit: ANI

The vertical drilling from the top of the hill makes swift progress as 36 metres of drilling work has been completed so far out of the 86 metres needed to reach the 41 trapped workers in the Silkyara tunnel, as per officials. Now the drilling work is being done to lay an 800/900 mm or 1.2 m diameter pipeline to aid the rescue.

Rat-hole mining experts also reached the disaster site to help tackle the challenge simultaneously from another front. Twelve rat-hole mining experts will be involved in manual drilling and excavation horizontally through the last 10- or 12-metre stretch of debris of the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel on Uttarakhand’s Char Dham route.

Also read: Uttarkashi tunnel collapse updates - November 26

The teams have set a target of vertically drilling through 86 metres of mountain in 100 hours, if there are no unexpected hurdles.

Briefing the media about the vertical drilling, as the rescue operation entered its 15th day on Sunday, Additional Secretary (Technical, Road and Transport) Mahmood Ahmed said there could be a need to change the “needle” or head of the drilling machine after a point of time and necessary arrangements for the same are already in place.

Watch: Uttarkashi tunnel collapse | First visuals of trapped workers emerge

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  • November 27, 2023 21:58
    PM Modi urges to pray for 41 labourers trapped in Uttarkashi tunnel

    PM Modi said that the government and all the agencies together are leaving no stone unturned to evacuate the workers trapped in the Uttarakhand tunnel for the last two weeks and that people should pray for them to get out safely and as soon as possible.

    The Prime Minister said that nature is constantly throwing challenges towards the rescue operation, underway to bring the trapped men out.

    PM Modi while attending the ‘Koti Deepotsavam’ programme at NTR stadium here, PM Modi said that “we should remember the men, trapped in the Uttarakhand tunnel, in our prayers for their speedy evacuation.”

    “Today when we are praying to Gods and Goddesses and talking about the welfare of humanity, we also have to give place in our prayers to those labourers who are stuck in a tunnel in Uttarakhand for the last two weeks,” PM Modi said.

    He said that the government and all the agencies together are leaving no stone unturned to get them out of the crisis. “But we have to complete this relief and rescue work very cautiously,” he said.

    “In this campaign, nature is constantly giving us challenges, but we are standing firm and trying round the clock,” the Prime Minister said, adding that we have to pray for those workers to get out safely and as soon as possible.

    - ANI

  • November 27, 2023 21:37
    Government making continuous efforts to ensure safe return of trapped workers: PM Modi in Hyderabad (PTI)
  • November 27, 2023 20:50
    One metre of manual drilling completed
  • November 27, 2023 19:55
    Secretary, Uttarakhand Government provides an update on the ongoing rescue operations
  • November 27, 2023 19:30
    Vertical drilling reaches 36 metres

    Vertical drilling from the top of the mountain at Silkyara tunnel reached 36 metres by 7 pm. The work is still going on. The rescue teams were able to push the horizontal pipes to 0.9 meters after manual drilling that started around 5 pm today. Target for vertical drilling is 86 metres while for the horizontal drilling, they need to drill till 56-60 metres in which approximately 47 metres is completed

  • November 27, 2023 19:10
    Comment | Moulding the Himalayas needs caution

    The Char Dham Project, all-weather roads, being constructed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Uttarakhand, linking the four religious pilgrimages of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath, has brought into focus two major issues in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).

    As we await more news from the tunnel rescue site, here’s an article from our edit pages on infrastructure development in the fragile Himalayan ecosystem by Tikender Singh Panwar, an urban practitioner, author, and a former directly elected Deputy Mayor of Shimla:

    Moulding the Himalayas needs caution

    The Uttarkashi tunnel collapse has thrown light on the major flaws in the infrastructure development in the Indian Himalayan Region

  • November 27, 2023 18:41
    IMD predicts rain in Himachal, Uttarakhand; issues Orange alert

    R.K. Jenamani, head of weather forecasting in the meteorological department, said that there is a possibility of moderate rain and hailstorms in different parts of Uttarakhand. This change in weather can be seen in the last 24 hours.

    It is noteworthy that, at present, the rescue operation is going on in Uttarkashi to bring out the labourers trapped in the tunnel for the last 15 days.

    “In such a situation, this change in weather may create troubles in the rescue operation. An orange alert has also been issued for Himachal Pradesh, predicting rain and hailstorms,” Jenamani added.

    - ANI

  • November 27, 2023 18:29
    “Expecting vertical drilling work in Uttarkashi tunnel to be completed by Nov 30”: NHIDCL

    National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Managing Director Mahmood Ahmad on Monday informed that the work of the vertical drilling at Uttarkashi tunnel where 41 workers remained trapped will be completed by November 30.

    “We have completed around 30 meters of drilling. The current machine that has been deployed can drill around 40-45 meters. We have brought two more machines for this purpose. SJVNL has brought those machines. Changeover machines will take time. We are expecting vertical drilling work would be completed by November 30.”

    - ANI

  • November 27, 2023 17:36
    When geology is against us and technology is against us, we cannot make any estimates: NDMA
  • November 27, 2023 17:24
    Rat-hole miners arrive for manual horizontal drilling

    A six- member team of rat miners is also at the site to start manual drilling which is a slow and difficult process in which they will go one after another through 800 mm diametre pipes already laid through the rubble and remove the debris with the help of shovels to insert more pipes. 

    When asked whether going through 800 mm dia pipes would not be difficult for them, one of the team members said they had experience of manually clearing debris through even 600 mm diametre pipes. The rat miners will go inside the pipes wearing a helmet, a uniform, a mask and glasses. Though a time-consuming process, manual drilling seems a feasible option as only around 10-12 metres through the rubble remain to be drilled to complete the escape passage.

    When asked which of these two options is likely to be completed first, Lt Gen Singh said it is difficult to predict that as everything depends on whether or not any hurdles are encountered. Manual drilling was resorted to as the auger machine which had drilled up to around 46.8 metres had to be withdrawn as it hit several hurdles on the way and finally got entangled in a girder in the debris.

    - PTI

  • November 27, 2023 16:54
    Not involved in construction of Uttrakhand tunnel, says Adani group

    Billionaire Gautam Adani’s group on Monday said it has no direct or indirect involvement in the construction of Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel. 

    In a statement, an Adani group spokesperson said the conglomerate does not own or hold any share in the company involved in the construction of the tunnel.

    “We clarify with utmost emphasis that the Adani group or any of its subsidiaries has no direct or indirect involvement of any kind in the tunnel’s construction,” it said. “We also clarify that we do not own or hold any shares in the company involved in the tunnel’s construction. — PTI

    Not involved in construction of Uttarakhand tunnel, says Adani group

    Adani Group has no involvement in Silkyara tunnel collapse; condemns any attempts to link its name. Group expresses thoughts and prayers for trapped workers and their families.

  • November 27, 2023 16:21
    AI expert prepares robotic and AI systems to assist rescue
  • November 27, 2023 15:59
    Aim is to rescue the men: MD- National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd
  • November 27, 2023 15:26
    Auger machine pulled out
  • November 27, 2023 15:09
    No more GPR survey at Uttarakhand rescue site

    The GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey team was sent back to Delhi as manual drilling began on the 16th day of the rescue operations in Uttarkashi.

    The Ground Penetrating survey will not be conducted inside the rescue tunnel again, said officials.

    The rescue work was halted as the Auger machine broke as soon as it got struck with a heavy object. The team, which came from Parsan Overseas Pvt Ltd Delhi, used the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technique to examine the rescue tunnel.


  • November 27, 2023 14:29
    P. K. Mishra reviews rescue ops
  • November 27, 2023 13:57
    P. K. Mishra speaks to trapped workers
  • November 27, 2023 13:24
    Psychiatric counselling, talking to kin daily

    “Don’t be nervous, we’re on it.” That’s what family members of Saba Ahmad, one of the 41 workers trapped at Sikyara tunnel for the last 15 days, keep telling whenever they communicate with him.

    A mic has been sent to the workers, stuck in a 2-km built-up area beyond the rubble accumulated in the collapsed part, through a pipe which helps them talk to people outside.

    A team of doctors, stationed at the rescue operation site, talk to the trapped workers twice a day -- from 9 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 8 pm.

    Also, family members of the trapped workers are allowed to talk to them anytime they like. The administration has set up a camp for the kin of the workers outside the tunnel.


  • November 27, 2023 13:04
    P. K. Mishra visits Silkyara tunnel site
  • November 27, 2023 12:25
    Former Army Engineer-in-Chief vouches for manual method to reach trapped labourers

    As the vertical drilling makes swift progress, former Engineer-in-Chief and Director General of Border Roads Organisation, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh (Retd) said that there is no other way left except manual method to reach the trapped workers in the Silkyara tunnel.

    “There is no other way left except the manual method and this is also the safe one through which we can reach the labourers. In the current situation, the Auger machine that was stuck has been removed. Efforts are underway to remove the 1.5 meters of the damaged pipe. After its removal, strengthening and muck clearance, skilled labourers will go in with the help of the army. We hope this will be done soon,” Lt. Gen Harpal Singh (retd) said.


  • November 27, 2023 11:57
    Union MoS General V. K. Singh arrives
  • November 27, 2023 11:24
    Rat hole mining to be employed to remove debris through manual drilling

    In an effort to step up the rescue operations in Uttarkashi, a rat hole mining technique will be used for manual drilling to remove the debris inside the pipe. 

    As per the official sources, a team of 6 specialists have reached the site to undertake the manual drilling work. They will go inside the 800 mm pipe of the tunnel to remove the debris manually. The team includes engineers from the Indian Army’s Madras Engineering Group as well as civilians.

    Apart from the drilling machine, a hammer, a shovel, a trowel, and a life support device for oxygen will be carried by these specialised teams while going inside the tunnel.


  • November 27, 2023 10:55
    Prayers being offered for safe rescue of workers
  • November 27, 2023 10:30
    “Everyone has been trying, hope that work is completed at earliest”: Dhami

    Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday said that the efforts to evacuate 41 trapped workers inside the Silkyara tunnel are going on and the rescue operation is expected to be completed at the earliest.

    “Everyone has been trying. The auger machine has been taken out completely...Drilling and pushing work will start and we hope that the work is completed at the earliest,” CM Dhami said.

    “PM Modi is seeking all important information. The National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, Indian Air Force and Indian Army are cooperating and contributing...” he added.


  • November 27, 2023 09:47
    Former advisor of PMO Bhaskar Khulbe arrives at site

    Former advisor of PMO Bhaskar Khulbe and Deputy Secretary of PMO Mangesh Ghildiyal arrive at the Silkyara Tunnel rescue site.

  • November 27, 2023 08:54
    Devotees light 21,000 lamps in Har ki Paudi, pray for labourers trapped in Silkyara tunnel

    As the Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation enters day 16 on Monday, prayers are being offered across the nation for the safe rescue of the 41 trapped workers.

    Devotees in Haridwar lit 21,000 lamps at Har Ki Pauri and prayed for the labourers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.


  • November 27, 2023 08:53
    31 metres of vertical drilling work done so far

    The vertical drilling from the top of the hill makes swift progress as 31 metres of drilling work has been completed so far out of the 86 metres needed to reach the 41 trapped workers in the Silkyara tunnel, as per officials.

    Now the drilling work is being done to lay an 800/900 mm or 1.2 m diameter pipeline to aid the rescue.


  • November 27, 2023 08:53
    2 BRO officials injured in road accident on way to Silkyara tunnel

    Two BRO officials were injured after their SUV was hit by a private bus near the Silkyara tunnel site on Sunday afternoon, police said.

    The accident occurred just half a kilometre away from the tunnel, where 41 workers have been trapped for 14 days, when three Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials were on the way to the site in their official vehicle.

    An overloaded private bus coming from the opposite side rammed into their vehicle, an official said.


  • November 27, 2023 07:57
    Rescue operation continues at Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand.

    On Sunday, officials began drilling into the hill above the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel, boring nearly 20 metres on the first day of adopting the new approach to reach 41 workers trapped inside for 14 days.

  • November 27, 2023 07:21
    “This is Uttarakhand govt’s indolence and negligence,” Congress leader Yashpal Arya on Uttarkashi Tunnel rescue ops

    Uttarakhand Congress leader Yashpal Arya on Sunday lashed out at the Uttarakhand-led government over the ongoing Silkyara tunnel collapse rescue and said that the incident reveals the government’s “indolence and negligence.”

    Arya, the Leader of the Opposition in the Uttarakhand Assembly, accused the government of corruption in awarding contracts and highlighted the lack of an escape tunnel, which, he argued, should have been built but was neglected.


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