Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: Board games, playing cards to help trapped workers relieve stress

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: Board games, playing cards to help trapped workers relieve stress

Uttarkashi/Dehradun, Nov 24 (PTI) Rescuers plan to provide board games and playing cards to the 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel for 12 days as the operation to evacuate them continues to get disrupted by multiple delays, an official said.

Late on Thursday, boring through the rubble of the collapsed tunnel was put on hold again, apparently after cracks appeared in the platform on which the drilling machine rests.

Dr Rohit Gondwal, one of the psychiatrists at the rescue site, told PTI, 'We are planning to provide ludo and chess boards and playing cards to help them (trapped labourers) relieve stress. The operation is getting delayed and it appears that it will take some more time.' He said all 41 workers are fine but need to stay healthy and mentally fit.

'They told us that they play 'chor-police', do yoga and exercise daily to de-stress,' Gondwal said.

Speaking on the mental health of the trapped workers, another medical expert said their morale needs to stay high and they must remain motivated. A team of doctors speaks daily to the workers and asks about their health and mental conditions.

The latest obstacle came hours after the rescue operation resumed earlier in the day, following a six-hour delay to cut through an iron girder that came in the way of the auger machine late on Wednesday.

This is the third time that the drilling exercise has been halted since the multi-agency rescue mission began on November 12 after a stretch of the under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand's Char Dham route collapsed.

Officials on Thursday said the rescuers had managed to drill the rubble up to 48 metres. However, another 10-12 metres remain to be covered to allow the trapped labourers to be evacuated.

A team of a dozen doctors, including general physicians and psychiatrists from Uttarkashi and Dehradun, are stationed at the site.

The officials said the team members regularly talk to the trapped labourers -- for at least for 30 minutes in the morning and the same duration during the evening. PTI ALK ALM NB

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