Uttarkashi tunnel work to resume after safety audit, workers get health check-up

Uttarkashi tunnel work to resume after safety audit, workers get health check-up

As the nation breathed a sigh of relief after all 41 workers trapped in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel, part of the ambitious Char Dham project, in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi walked out after 17 days in the dark, plans are already in place to resume construction.

A senior official from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) told news agency PTI that that a safety audit of the Silkyara tunnel would be conducted, and necessary repairs would be undertaken before proceeding with work on the 4.5 km long tunnel project. The official assured that all precautions would be taken to ensure the safety of the tunnel this time around.

Meanwhile, the rescued workers are in hospital for medical evaluation. They have undergone health check-ups after their ordeal and their condition is said to be stable. Their mental health is also being monitored.

Here are the latest updates on the successful completion of the Uttarkashi rescue operation:

  • Despite the collapse, the 4.5-kilometre Silkyara tunnel project, a key component of the Char Dham Yatra All Weather Road, is set to proceed after a comprehensive safety review and necessary repairs. The Rs 12,000-crore initiative aims to ensure uninterrupted access to the four sacred towns of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath in Uttarakhand.

  • The Uttarakhand government has formed a six-member expert committee to examine the causes of the collapse. MoRTH will consider forming its own panel to investigate further.

  • Zojila Tunnel Project Head Harpal Singh said there could be several potential reasons for the tunnel’s collapse, including poor geological investigation, under-designed ground support systems, construction mistakes, and inadequate supervision control. He suggested the planning of escape tunnels parallel to main tunnels for all highway and rail tunnels.

  • The 41 rescued workers were airlifted to AIIMS-Rishikesh for a health check-up after their evacuation. Mental health examinations are underway, and the workers are being kept under observation.

    The workers were initially kept under medical observation at a hospital in Chinyalisaur after their evacuation on Tuesday night.

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami met the rescued workers, handing each a cheque of Rs 1 lakh. A reward of Rs 50,000 was announced for each rat-hole mining expert involved in the rescue operation. He was also seen dancing and celebrating with the families of the rescued workers.

(With PTI inputs)

Published By:

Devika Bhattacharya

Published On:

Nov 30, 2023

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