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Uttarakhand tunnel rescue: Manual drilling underway, 5-6 metres to go


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Speaking on the ongoing drilling work, Chris Cooper said, "It went very well last night. We have crossed 50 metres. It's now about 5-6 metres to go. We didn't have any obstacles last night." UTTARKASHI: As the rescue operations enter the 17th day in the Silkyara tunnel, the work of manual drilling is underway to bring out the trapped workers.

Micro tunnelling expert Chris Cooper on Tuesday morning said that 3 metres of manual drilling has been done so far and about 50 metres of drilling work has been completed in total. As per official sources, about 57 metres of drilling work from the mouth of the tunnel, is to be done in total to lay a pipe inside the tunnel to reach the trapped workers. Speaking on the ongoing drilling work, Chris Cooper said, "It went very well last night. We have crossed 50 metres. It's now about 5-6 metres to go. We didn't have any obstacles last night. It is looking very positive." Earlier the rescuers had completed about 47 metres of drilling work using the auger machine to lay the pipe.

The drilling work was put on hold as the auger machine got stuck in the debris, which was later cut and removed using a plasma cutter. #WATCH | Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) tunnel rescue | Visuals from the Silkyara tunnel where the operation to rescue 41 workers is ongoing. First visuals of manual drilling ongoing inside the rescue tunnel. Auger machine is being used for pushing the pipe. So far about 2 meters of… pic.twitter.com/kXNbItQSQR — ANI (@ANI) November 28, 2023 Rat-hole miners are carrying out the manual drilling work which has been going on since Monday night. Meanwhile, National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Managing Director Mahmood Ahmad on Monday said that the vertical drilling of 36 meters has been completed which was done from atop the hill.

On Monday, Neeraj Khairwal, Secretary of the Uttarakhand Government, said that timelines for the drilling operations in totality cannot be assumed. "After taking out the part of Auger that was struck inside the tunnel was taken out. 1.9 meters that was cut, in that, the first 220 mm was pushed, and was taken out. There was concern that it may not be pushed, but now we won't have to go on an alternate method. Then again 500 mm was pushed. Rat miners pushed that part," the official said.

"A time limit cannot be said, but let's hope and pray that minimum obstacles occur and we will be able to do this quickly," he added. Officials informed that the 41 workers trapped inside the tunnel are stable and safe. Also, National Disaster Management Authority Member, Lt General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain on Monday that currently, the situation inside the tunnel is under control. "Things are under control. Food and medicine are going inside as per requirements. Psychological aspects are also given importance. Backup communications have been established," he said. A delegation led by Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Pramod Kumar Mishra also took stock of ongoing efforts earlier on Monday. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Uttarakhand Chief Secretary SS Sandhu along with PK Mishra inspected the work inside the tunnel. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)