Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand), 28th November 2023: In a remarkable turn of events, the 17-day-long rescue operation in Uttarkashi’s Silkyara Tunnel reached a triumphant conclusion as all 41 labourers who were trapped following a tunnel collapse on Diwali (November 12) were successfully evacuated on Tuesday night. The rescue effort faced numerous challenges, including an under-construction tunnel collapse caused by a geological fault known as a “shear zone.”
The rescue team achieved a significant breakthrough on the 16th day by removing the head of the auger machine stuck in the debris. Manual digging efforts commenced thereafter, and the team successfully pushed an 800 mm pipe inside by about one and a half meters. Despite challenges such as boulders hindering drilling work from above, the persistent efforts of the rescue team led to the safe extraction of all trapped workers.
The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, announced a Uttarakhand state government assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to the rescued workers. Additionally, he appealed to the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited to grant one month of paid leave to the workers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended the patience and resilience of the trapped workers, expressing his happiness over the success of the rescue operation. He extended his best wishes for the workers’ good health during this emotionally charged moment.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also shared his joy at the successful rescue, praising the coordinated efforts of various agencies working tirelessly under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He expressed gratitude to all personnel who contributed to the rescue mission and announced plans for a safety audit of the tunnel in the aftermath of the incident.