Rescue officials in Uttarakhand on Saturday began preparations to drill a vertical hole from the top of a hill under which 40 workers have been trapped for seven days, PTI reported.
A part of an under-construction tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of November 12, trapping the workers inside. The tunnel is part of the Char Dham Road Project to build all-weather roads in Uttarakhand.
The Border Roads Organisation’s Major Naman Narula said that officials have identified a point at the top of the tunnel, from where drilling will begin soon. He said that rescue workers are trying to make a vertical track of 1,000 to 1,100 metres from the top of the tunnel.
“Simultaneously, we are also conducting a survey to know how much time it will take,” Narula said on Saturday, according to PTI. “As per our calculations, the track should be ready by tomorrow afternoon.”
Rescue operations have been suspended since November 17, when a machine being used to drill through the rubble and push a pipe inside developed a snag. A high-performance drilling machine was brought in from Indore in Madhya Pradesh to cut through the rubble of the tunnel. It is now being assembled so that drilling can resume.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami will visit the site of the collapse on Sunday to inspect rescue operations, ANI reported. Union minister Nitin Gadkari will also visit the site to take stock of the situation.