Rescuing all workers safely topmost priority: Modi to Dhami on Uttarakhand tunnel collapse

Dehradun:┬áPrime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday, the second day in a row, to enquire about the operation to rescue the 41 workers trapped inside Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel for 10 days.

In a post on X, Dhami said he told Modi that the workers are safe and the prime minister underlined that the rescue mission is the topmost priority.

This is the fourth time that Modi spoke to Dhami to take stock of the rescue operation since the tunnel collapse on November 12. He spoke to Dhami on Monday as well.

In his post, Dhami said Prime Minister Modi called again today and enquired about the operation being carried out to rescue the workers trapped inside the under-construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.

He said he informed the prime minister about the successful insertion of a 6-inch pipeline through the rubble which will be used for providing food in larger quantities and other necessary items to the workers.

“Honourable prime minister was informed about the conversation with the workers through the endoscopic camera and their wellbeing. The prime minister said it is our top priority to rescue all the workers safely,” Dhami said.

Earlier on Tuesday, rescuers released the first video of workers trapped inside the collapsed part of the tunnel. The visuals were captured using an endoscopic flexi camera sent in through the alternative 6-inch pipeline.

The camera was sent in after it came from Delhi late on Monday evening.

In the video, the workers, wearing yellow and white helmets, are seen receiving food items sent to them through the pipeline and talking to each other.

Rescue operations are being carried out on a war footing since portions of the tunnel collapsed following a landslide early on November 12, leaving the workers trapped behind a huge mound of debris.

Till Monday, a four-inch existing tube was being used to supply oxygen and items like dry fruits and medicines into the section of the tunnel beyond the rubble of the collapsed portion.

The Silkyara tunnel, about 30 km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi and a seven-hour drive from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, is part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the central government.