Silkyara Tunnel collapse: Parts of auger machine removed from rubble

Uttarkashi: The remaining parts of the auger machine stuck in the rubble at Silkyara tunnel, where 41 labourers have been stranded for the last 15 days, were removed early on Monday.

Manual drilling will now start at the tunnel to prepare an escape passage for the trapped workers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Secretary P K Mishra and Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S S Sandhu will visit Silkyara on Monday to review the rescue operation.

The auger drill — a corkscrew-like device with a rotary blade at the front end — that was drilling into the debris got stuck Friday evening, forcing officials to give up on the 25-tonne machine.

Parts of the auger were left to be removed from an 8.15-metre area on Sunday night. Extracting the shaft and fins of the machine from the rubble completely was necessary to pave the way for manual drilling and pushing of pipes which is in the final stretch with around 12 metres more to go.