Silkyara tunnel crisis: Landline facility set up for trapped workers

Silkyara tunnel crisis: Landline facility set up for trapped workers

Uttarkashi, Nov 25 (PTI) A landline facility has been set up at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi to keep trapped workers connected with their family members, officials said on Saturday.

The facility has been set up by the BSNL and a handset will be given to the workers trapped inside the partially collapsed tunnel for the past 13 days, they said.

'We have set up a telephone exchange. We will give them a phone connected with the line via the pipe being used for sending food. This phone will have incoming and outgoing facilities. They can talk to their family,' DGM, BSNL, Rakesh Chaudhary told PTI.

The exchange has been set up 200 metres away from the Silkyara tunnel, Chaudhary said.

Impatience is growing among 41 trapped men and their kin, after the rescue work was stopped due to some hurdles on Friday.

At present, the communication between the trapped workers and their relatives is facilitated by a communication system set up through a six-inch wide pipe.

An endoscopic camera was also pushed through this pipe, allowing rescue workers and relatives of the trapped men to see the condition inside. Drilling at the collapsed portion of the tunnel has been halted since Friday as the the auger machine faced hurdles one after another. A tunnelling expert at the site said on Saturday the machine was broken.

Rescuers are now exploring other options such as drilling the remaining stretch of 10 to 12 metres manually or creating a vertical escape passage for the 41 labourers trapped inside.

The multi-agency rescue effort began November 12 when a portion of the under-construction tunnel on Uttarakhand's Char Dham route collapsed following a landslide, trapping the workers inside. PTI ALK ALM ALM KVK KVK

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