In a triumphant conclusion to a 17-day ordeal, all 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in Uttarakhand were successfully rescued on Tuesday. This multi-agency rescue mission, which kept the nation on tenterhooks, marked a resounding victory for human resilience and collaborative effort. The workers, who were constructing part of the Chardham all-weather road, a flagship federal project, were trapped on November 12 when a landslide caused the 4.5-kilometer tunnel to collapse.
A Challenging Rescue Operation
The rescue mission involved a myriad of agencies and was fraught with challenges. The workers were evacuated through a 60-meter passage fabricated from welded pipes, which were previously pushed through dirt and rocks. In the final phase of the operation, rat-hole miners played a crucial role when high-tech machines failed to drill through the rock. The youngest laborers were prioritized for evacuation. Despite the complexity of the operation and the harsh conditions, all the rescued workers are reported to be in good health.
Post-Rescue Measures and Support
Post-rescue, the workers are to receive complete medical supervision due to their prolonged exposure to the challenging environment. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami assured that a specialized 41-bed ward had been prepared at a community health center to accommodate the workers. Furthermore, each worker will receive a monetary grant of ₹1 lakh. The chief minister also announced the reconstruction of the Baukhnag temple and a review of tunnel projects.
Commendations and Future Considerations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Chief Minister Dhami on the successful rescue and inquired about the health and transportation arrangements for the workers. The Prime Minister's support during the rescue operation was acknowledged by the chief minister. Family members of the workers, previously relocated to Chinyalisaur, will be provided transportation back home. The nation rejoiced at the successful end of the rescue operation, and the courage, patience, and determination demonstrated by all participants stand as a testament to the indomitable human spirit.