Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, overseeing the rescue efforts, stated that a large diameter pipeline is being pushed through the rubble to provide essential supplies to the trapped workers.
An American auger machine brought as a replacement had to be stopped on Friday due to hitting a hard surface.
Gadkari mentioned thathorizontal drilling remains the “best option,” and if the machine encounters no obstacles, it may reach the workers in approximately two-and-a-half days.
The minister emphasized that the trapped workers have adequate provisions, including electricity, open space, food, water, and oxygen. The rescue operation is the top priority, and efforts are underway to restart the auger machine and resume drilling. Additionally, preparations are being made to explore the space between the debris and the tunnel roof using robots to insert life support pipes.
Gadkari acknowledged the challenging Himalayan terrain for mechanical operations and stressed that multiple options, including vertical and horizontal drilling, are being considered simultaneously. He assured that all necessary machines and technical assistance will be provided to expedite the evacuation. The Prime Minister’s Office is closely monitoring the situation, and the focus is on saving the trapped workers at the earliest.
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The trapped workers are continually supplied with oxygen, electricity, food, water, and medicines. Multivitamins, antidepressants, and dry fruits are also being provided. Gadkari highlighted that a significant tunnel construction project is underway in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, costing approximately Rs 2.75 lakh crore. Various experts and agencies are collaborating to explore different methods for the safe and prompt evacuation of the workers.
(With agency inputs)