“Persisting Challenges in the Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse Rescue Operation After One Week

By manish198832 Nov 19, 2023

Tunnel Collapse Rescue Operation After One Week


In a desperate race against time, rescue operations in the aftermath of a tunnel collapse in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, have entered their seventh day.

The incident occurred when a highway tunnel, a crucial component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Himalayan Char Dham Highway project, partially collapsed, leaving 40 construction workers trapped underground.

 Tunnel Collapse Rescue Operation

The rescue teams, facing the challenge of a fragile mountainous terrain, have altered their approach, introducing a “pause-and-go” strategy to ensure safety as they inch closer to reaching the stranded workers.

The Complex Rescue Operation:

Since the acquisition of a high-powered drilling machine on Thursday, emergency response teams have been tirelessly working to breach the collapsed Uttarkashi tunnel.

The delicate mountainous surroundings have presented a constant threat of additional debris falling, complicating the already arduous rescue efforts.

Anshu Manish Khalkho, director of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), shared insights into the modified approach, emphasizing the need to maintain equilibrium during the operation.

Current Progress and Challenges:

Videos circulating on social media depict the temporary suspension of drilling activities overnight from Friday into Saturday, marking a shift in the strategy.

 The rescue teams, utilizing the high-powered drilling machine, have successfully penetrated approximately 25 meters (82 feet) into the collapsed tunnel, representing one-third of the distance to the trapped workers.

 However, a daunting 60 meters of debris still separates the rescuers from the construction workers.

Khalkho explained that specialized pipes, designed for the rescue mission, have been inserted into the drilled hole, covering approximately 25 meters.

These pipes, with a diameter of approximately 900 millimeters, are being interconnected and welded together.

 The purpose of these pipes is to serve as an escape passage for the stranded workers, allowing them to traverse beyond the section of the tunnel that has caved in.

Challenges Faced On-site:

Despite appearances, Khalkho highlighted the complexities of the rescue mission, particularly the impact of drilling vibrations on the fragile terrain.

The intricate balance between progressing with the operation and safeguarding against further collapses demands a meticulous and cautious approach.

 The rescue team’s unwavering dedication is evident as they navigate through these challenges in their race against time.

Health and Well-being of Trapped Workers:

Amid the dire circumstances, Khalkho reassured the public that the trapped workers are receiving essential supplies such as food, water, and oxygen through a smaller pipe.

 Communication with the workers is maintained via walkie-talkies, offering a lifeline to those stranded beneath the rubble.

 However, concerns have arisen as some of the workers have reportedly fallen ill, experiencing symptoms like vomiting and headaches.

Additional Resources Mobilized:

In response to a setback in the form of the initial drilling machine breaking on Friday, a backup drilling machine is being urgently airlifted from Indore city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

This strategic move aims to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of the rescue operations.

 Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, affirmed that engineers and experts from NHIDCL are working tirelessly, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi actively monitoring and reviewing the situation.

Government Involvement and Oversight:

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Chief Minister Dhami assured the press that the rescue work is progressing as planned, with the involvement of engineers and experts from NHIDCL.

The Prime Minister’s office has dispatched a special team to the tunnel collapse site to provide additional oversight and strategic guidance.

Prime Minister Modi himself is reportedly reviewing the situation, emphasizing the significance of this incident within the context of the Himalayan Char Dham Highway project, a multimillion-dollar initiative aimed at enhancing connectivity and pilgrimage access in Uttarakhand.


As the rescue efforts in Uttarakhand’s tunnel collapse extend into a challenging seventh day, the nation watches with bated breath.

 The intricacies of the operation, the ongoing health concerns of the trapped workers, and the mobilization of additional resources underscore the urgency and complexity of this crisis.

The resilience of the emergency response teams and the collaborative efforts between government agencies and experts remain paramount in the quest to bring the construction workers to safety and salvage the aspirations of the Himalayan Char Dham Highway project.

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