Activities in Uttarkashi’s Sikyara tunnel have restarted on Friday after encountering an obstruction during the last phase of the demanding rescue effort. As to Bhaskar Khulbe, a former counselor to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), if everything goes according to plan, it should reach the stranded workers by tonight.
“We need to delve down into the tube 14 meters further. With luck, we might be able to reach the workers who are trapped within by this evening,” Khulbe adds of the Silkyara tunnel rescue.
“We have been able to fix the auger machine strongly on its foundation,” he said. After the pipe was cut, we had to get past a few obstructions at its mouth. It is taking longer since this task is challenging.”
“This is what our calculations show, but we hope to finish by six o’clock in the evening. The auger machine is presently operating well. He said, “The workers who are trapped are in a good state of mind.”
The mishap in the rescue effort last night
The excavation of the wreckage of the fallen tunnel was halted once again late on Thursday, presumably due to fissures developing in the platform that holds the drilling apparatus.
The most recent challenge came only a few hours after the rescue efforts were recommenced earlier in the day, after a six-hour break to remove an iron girder that obstructed the auger machine late on Wednesday.
Since the multi-agency rescue operation got underway on November 12 after the collapse of a section of the under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Char Dham route, the drilling exercise has been suspended three times.
Authorities said that the rescuers had successfully drilled 48 meters into the debris. To enable the laborers who are stranded to be rescued, ten more meters must be covered.
Twelve medical professionals, including general practitioners and psychiatrists from Dehradun and Uttarkashi, are on duty at the location.
According to the authorities, the team members converse with the stranded laborers on a daily basis for at least thirty minutes in the morning and the same amount of time in the evening.
Employees’ mental health
Dr. Rohit Gondwal, one of the psychiatrists at the rescue site, said, “We are planning to provide ludo and chess boards and playing cards to help them (trapped laborers) relieve stress,” acknowledging the significance of helping the trapped workers remain positive and motivated. The procedure is taking longer than expected, and it seems like it will take longer.”
It is important for all 41 employees to maintain good physical and emotional health, he said.
“They told us that they play ‘chor-police’, do yoga and exercise daily to de-stress,” Gondwal said.
Regarding the psychological well-being of the stranded laborers, an additional medical professional emphasised the need of maintaining their motivation and positive outlook. Every day, a group of medical professionals inquire about the employees’ physical and emotional well-being.