New Delhi: As many as 17 labourers trapped in a tunnel in Uttarakhand for 41 days are expected to be rescued soon. This success has been achieved when "Rat Miners" was brought in at around 7 pm yesterday. They had to manually dig the last part of the 12-metre stretch.
Important information related to the case:
There are now only two meters left for excavation for rat miners, after which the process of extraction can start. At the same time, the employees are working as a precautionary measure with the help of all safety measures.
Extensive preparations have been made for rescue. A hospital has been reserved entirely for workers and the Air Force's Chinook helicopter stands by for emergencies. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and Union Minister VK Singh are at the spot.
"Rat miners" drilling narrow shafts as part of the primitive and currently illegal method of extracting coal have to manually dig rocks, which has proven too difficult for the U.S. Ocean drill and many other equipment.
Manual drilling is a slow and labor-intensive process, in which rat miners have to go through an 800 mm pipe, drill manually and take out debris from the shovel.
American Auger Drill - is a corkscrew-like device with a rotary blade at the front end. The one that was drilled for about 46.8 metres had to be withdrawn as its blades were damaged by rocky debris and iron rods, which were part of the tunnel's roof.
Around 12 am on November 4, a portion of the tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed, trapping 41 labourers working there in a 400-metre buffer zone.
Rescuers had reached the spot immediately and are providing them food, water, medical supplies and other essentials through pipes. There was already a pipe in the tunnel, which was giving fresh oxygen to the area.
Video from the scene showed huge piles of concrete blocking the tunnel. Metal bars twisted from its broken roof were also pricking in the middle of it.
The debris had been thwarting the efforts of several agencies equipped with various drilling equipment and excavators for more than two weeks. What was worse was that the tunnel had an unplastered roof, from where rocks repeatedly fell, causing problems for rescuers at times.
The 4.5-km-long tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway, which will connect Silkyara and Dandalgaon in Uttarkashi, is part of the Chardham project. Once completed, it is expected to reduce the distance by 26 km.