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Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescue may take up to 15 days; trapped workers served veg pulao, matar-paneer

Rescue operations have entered a critical phase as efforts to save 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel collapse. The trapped labourers received a hot meal last night consisting of veg pulao, matar-paneer, and chapatis with butter, all prepared under medical supervision to ensure easy digestion. 

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse Rescue may take up to 15 days trapped workers served veg pulao matar paneer gcw
First Published Nov 22, 2023, 9:48 AM IST

In a major breakthrough, workers are now being served hot food after officials managed to insert a 57-metre long, 6-inch wide pipe to send larger quantities of solid food and water. The trapped labourers were supplied solid food items such as veg pulao, matar-paneer, and chapatis for dinner on Tuesday night. The 150 food packets were delivered via a conduit that was inserted through the section of the building that had fallen. 

Cook Sanjit Rana told the reporters that the meal was made with less oil and spices to make it easier to digest under the doctor's supervision. He said, "We have prepared veg pulao, mattar paneer, and butter chapati for the workers trapped inside. We have packed the food in adequate portions."

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Anurag Jain, secretary of Road Transport and Highways, stated that the Auger drilling machine, manufactured in the United States and already in use, is currently the best alternative available and that workers could be out in 2.5 days. On Friday afternoon, the auger machine encountered a strong boulder, causing vibrations that prompted rescuers to halt the work for safety reasons.

Jain said that they have kept five other action plans ready, but those could take as long as 12-15 days. He said, "We are working on all options simultaneously instead of waiting for one option to click. Auger and horizontal boring to create an opening parallel to the tunnel. Creating a horizontal opening could take 12-15 days."

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Doctors, who have been sent to the site, has advised trapped workers to do Yoga, walk in the stretch and also talk to each other. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke with Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami to take stock of the rescue efforts.

A 30-second video provided by authorities showed about a dozen of the trapped men standing in a semi-circle in front of the camera, wearing helmets and construction worker jackets over their clothes against the backdrop of the lights in the tunnel.  

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