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36 workers trapped as under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand partially collapses

Lucknow: As many as 36 labourers were feared trapped after a portion of an under-construction tunnel on the Yamunotri (origin of river Yamuna) National Highway in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district, about 600 kilometres from here, collapsed on Sunday.

According to the district officials, the portion of the tunnel which caved in around 5 am was 200 metres away from the entry of the tunnel toward Silkyara. ”The spot where the labourers were working when the incident occurred was around two and half kilometres inside the tunnel,” a senior district official said.

The officials said that teams of the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) and others had reached the spot and the debris were being removed in a bid to reach the trapped labourers.

”A pipe containing oxygen has also been put inside the tunnel. So far, there has not been a report of any casualty,” the official said.

He said that the first priority of the administration was to rescue all the trapped labourers and bring them to safety. ”How the incident occured and who was responsible for the same will be looked into later,” he added.

The officials said that according to the company which was undertaking construction of the tunnel, there were 36 labourers inside the tunnel when a portion of the same collapsed.

The district magistrate has cancelled leaves of all officials and directed them to report on duty and be ready to join the rescue operations if required.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that all possible efforts were under way to rescue the trapped labourers.

The tunnel, which was 4.5 kilometre long was being constructed from Silkyara to Dandalgaon on the Yamunotri National Highway under the Char Dham Road project. The tunnel would reduce the distance from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri by around 26 kilometres.

(Published 12 November 2023, 06:36 IST)

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