Lucknow, India, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Efforts continue as 40 workers are still trapped in the collapsed tunnel in India. Massive boulders remain as a challenge for the rescue workers to create an evacuation passage, officials reported.
The trapped laborers have been confined since the tunnel collapsed three days ago, with reports indicating that they are safe and healthy throughout the ordeal, as relayed by an official involved in the ongoing rescue mission, said to Reuters.
The trapped individuals have been provided with food, water, and oxygen through a pipe since Sunday morning, after the tunnel collapsed at 5:30 a.m. (0000 GMT).
“A heavy machine is being brought in from New Delhi to insert an evacuation pipe as the current one is being blocked by boulders,” G.S. Naveen, relief commissioner of Uttar Pradesh state, told Reuters.
The tunnel collapse has trapped approximately 50-60 individuals who were working on the night shift in the 4.5-km (3-mile) tunnel, part of the Char Dham Hindu pilgrimage route that is under construction in Uttarakhand state.
Summarized reports suggest that individuals situated near the tunnel exit managed to escape, while the 40 trapped deeper within the tunnel now await rescue operations.
The Char Dham highway, part of a project initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, aiming to interconnect four pilgrimage sites revered by Hindus in Uttarakhand, is still under construction. The project involves the construction of 890 km (550 miles) of roads, costing around $1.5 billion.
The mountainous region is highly susceptible to landslides, earthquakes, and floods. This latest incident raises concerns as it follows reports of land subsidence that experts attribute to the rapid construction activities undertaken in the region.