Kin of Bihar labourers trapped inside Uttarkashi tunnel hope for early rescue

Kin of Bihar labourers trapped inside Uttarkashi tunnel hope for early rescue

Patna, Nov 25 (PTI) Even as efforts continued to rescue 41 construction workers trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in far-off Uttarakhand, family members of five of the labourers hailing from Bihar watched the unfolding of events with bated breath.

According to the state disaster management department, the construction workers from Bihar stranded in the Himalayan state were identified as Saba Ahmed, Sonu Sah, Virendra Kisku, Sushil Kumar and Deepak Kumar.

Deepak Kumar's mother Usha Devi told reporters at her home in Muzaffarpur district, 'I feel numb with the trauma we have been going through ever since we first got the news. For close to two weeks, we have been hearing my child will be rescued today. That today never comes.' Notably, a portion of the under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi district, part of the Narendra Modi government's ambitious 'Char Dham' project, caved in a fortnight ago.

Usha Devi's torment is shared by Misbah Ahmed, a resident of Bhojpur district, who anxiously stares at his mobile phone screen to get updates on the rescue operation on which hinges the well-being of his only son Saba.

'We were crestfallen when we first got the news from another family member working on the same project who was lucky not to be in the affected portion of the tunnel,' said Misbah.

'We got to hear a recording of my son's voice from inside the tunnel. He sounded exhausted but optimistic. Nonetheless, for us, the rescue operation in itself is no longer a consolation. My son is the only breadwinner of the family,' said the distraught father.

Devraj, elder brother of Virendra Kisku, said at their home in Banka district, 'When we got the news last week, Virendra's wife broke down but gathered herself up soon and left for Uttarkashi, determined to bring her husband back.' He added, 'We are praying ceaselessly for the ordeal of my brother to end and the penance (tapasya) of his wife to bear fruit. Rescue officials once helped her talk to Virendra over the phone. But for how long can one make do with such consolations?' In Rohtas district, Sushil Kumar's family members said the construction worker's elder brother Haridwar Vishwakarma has reached Uttarkashi.

The disaster management department said here that it had received a call from Priyanka Sah, a resident of Saran district, who has been informed that her husband Sonu Sah was safe. PTI NAC ACD

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