Don't worry, we will meet soon: Trapped workers tell family members as drilling resumes at Silkyara tunnel

Don't worry, we will meet soon: Trapped workers tell family members as drilling resumes at Silkyara tunnel

Uttarkashi, Nov 22 (PTI) 'They told me not to worry and that we would soon meet outside,' says Indrajeet Kumar with a renewed sense of hope after he was able to speak to two of his family members who are among the 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel here for 10 days.

Indrajeet's elder brother Vishwajeet and relative Subodh Kumar are trapped inside the tunnel.

'Vishwajeet's three children are waiting for him to return and praying for him. I called him on Diwali but could not get through. When I contacted one of his colleagues, he told me that Vishwajeet got trapped inside the tunnel. I reached here the next day,' said Indrajeet, who hails from Jharkhand's Giridih, on Wednesday.

He said he saw Vishwajeet and Subodh in a video of the workers released by rescuers on Tuesday. 'Both of them are doing fine. Today I heard their voices. They told me that it's a matter of few more hours,' he added.

Almost every worker had a similar message for their family members, who have been camping here for days, as drilling with the American auger machine resumed at the tunnel overnight to prepare an escape passage for them.

The workers' family members were optimistic after speaking to them, hoping that the anxious wait would culminate in a heart-warming reunion with their loved ones.

Devashish, whose brother-in-law Sonu Shah is trapped inside the tunnel, said he hopes that the workers will come out soon.

'Today, we were taken inside the tunnel and we spoke to our family members. Sonu repeatedly told me not to worry now and that we would meet soon,' Devashish said.

He said his family found out that Sonu got trapped inside the tunnel after seeing his name in the newspaper.

'We called him on Diwali but could not reach him. His colleagues told us that his mobile phone had been damaged. Later, we saw his name in the newspaper and learnt that he was trapped inside the tunnel,' he said.

Sonu was working at the site for three years. His wife and one-year-old daughter live in Chapra.

Bikram Singh is also waiting for his brother Pushkar Singh (24), who hails from Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh, to come out.

'I feel a bit relieved after hearing his voice today. I hope to meet him soon,' Bikram said.

'My brother is a brave man. He told me to cheer up and I am sure he must be motivating others inside,' he said.

Waiting to be reunited with his brother Virendra, Devendra from Bihar's Banka said, 'I have worked at this site so I knew that this (tunnel collapse) was a possibility. I am happy and satisfied now that the rescue operation has resumed.' Rescuers have inserted wide pipes up to 45 metres through the rubble and will have to drill another around 12 metres to reach the trapped workers, according to officials.

The authorities have also made elaborate healthcare arrangements for the workers as and when they crawl out through the pipe.

The Silkyara tunnel, about 30 km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi and a seven-hour drive from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, is part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the central government. PTI ALK NIT DIV DIV

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