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Gadkari takes stock of rescue ops at Uttarkashi tunnel site

Rescue teams in Uttarakhand are battling against time to evacuate 41 construction workers who have been trapped under debris for over 170 hours following a tunnel collapse.Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari along with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami took stock of the relief work at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi on Sunday. Gadkari, after having visited the site earlier today, said he was confident that an advanced drilling machine would speed up the rescue at the site and assured that trapped workers would be reached in two days. He also said that the utmost priority was to save the lives of trapped workers."Our priority is to save their lives. Work is on war footing," he said.Nitin Gadkari said in a press briefing after he monitored the situation and spoke with experts present at the Silkyara tunnel.
Gadkari said the authorities would reach the root cause of the situation and that the Uttarakhand government had formed a committee to probe the cause behind the incident."Let's wait for a report. We will get to the root cause of it," he said.Multiple agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Border Roads Organisation (BRO), project executing agency National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), joined the rescue efforts
The workers' prolonged confinement within the tunnel is raising serious concerns about their health and well-being.Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Sinha says, "We are inserting a 900mm diameter pipe with the help of the Auger machine. We have reached 22 meters and we are going ahead rapidly. There is a lifeline pipe for sending food and other necessary items. We are inserting another pipe above it because there was less debris there. There we have gone till 42 meters and only a few meters are left. We will have another pipe for life support when that becomes ready..."


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