Tunnel collapse: Brother of trapped worker confident of his safe evacuation

Tunnel collapse: Brother of trapped worker confident of his safe evacuation

Uttarkashi, Nov 16 (PTI) Four days after his brother was trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand, Indrajeet Kumar from Jharkhand has not lost hope of his safe evacuation.

'I reached here Tuesday evening worrying about the wellbeing of my brother. I was relieved to talk to my brother and another man from our state on Tuesday and Wednesday. They said they were all fine,' he told reporters at the site on Thursday.

'Now that a more powerful drilling machine has been pressed into service, I am sure they will be evacuated safely,' he added.

Kumar's brother Vishwajeet is among the 40 workers trapped after a portion of the under-construction tunnel in Silkyara village in Uttarkashi district, part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project, collapsed due to a landslide on Sunday.

Of the 40 labourers, 15 are from Jharkhand and the rest are from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam.

A heavy-duty drilling machine bored through 12 metres of rubble of the collapsed tunnel on Thursday, raising hopes for the rescue of the workers.

After a smaller drilling machine failed to do the job, IAF's C-130 Hercules planes brought the US-made auger machine, in parts, from Delhi to an airport 30 kilometres away on Wednesday. The 25-tonne piece of equipment was installed overnight.

The trapped workers are safe and being supplied with oxygen, medicines, food items and water through pipes, Navayuga Engineering Company's spokesperson G L Nath said.

The company is building the tunnel on behalf of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). PTI COR ALM SMN

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