Uttarkashi collapse: What is the Silkyara tunnel for? – ET Infra

In February 2018, the Union Cabinet approved construction of a 4.531 km two lane bi-directional Silkyara bend — the Barkot tunnel. The project will be along NH-134 in Uttarakhand and is part of the Chardham plan. The estimated construction period was four years, with cost estimated at Rs 1,119.69 crore. Total project cost is Rs 1,383.78 crore, including land acquisition and rehabilitation cost. The work is delayed and is likely to be completed by May 14, 2024.

What happened on November 12, 2023?

At 5.30 am, about 41 workers were reprofiling 260-265 m inside the tunnel from Silkyara portal, when a collapse occurred at 205-260 m from the portal. All workers, based on the contractor’s entry register, were trapped inside the tunnel. The area in which the workers are trapped is 8.5 m high and 2 km long.

Which agencies are involved in the rescue mission?

Uttarakhand administration, SDRF, NDRF, MoRTH, NHIDCL, NHAI and BRO are engaged in supplying fresh air, oxygen, water, electricity and small packed food through pipes. International expert Arnold Dix from International Tunneling and Underground Space Association, Geneva, and micro tunneling expert from Australia, Chris Cooper, are also assisting.

What is the five-pronged strategy to rescue workers?

Five options were decided. Five different agencies are engaged in rescue operation — Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Sutluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDCL).

  1. NHIDCL has undertaken horizontal drilling from Silkyara end using an Auger boring machine. To facilitate this, the Army has prepared a box culvert. A canopy framework is being made to ensure workers’ safety
  2. RVNL is working on another vertical pipeline for supplying essential items after the Border Roads Organisation completed building an approach road in just one day
  3. Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDCL) has undertaken microtunneling from Barkot end for which heavy machinery has been mobilised
  4. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL) is implementing vertical drilling to rescue workers. Equipment has been mobilised from Gujarat and Odisha through railways as it could not be airlifted
  5. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), having expertise in deep drilling, started initial work for vertical drilling from Barkot end

  • Published On Nov 22, 2023 at 12:17 PM IST

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