TUNNEL RESCUE : The people of the nation heaved a collective sigh of relief as the Uttarkashi Tunnel rescue operations were finally declared successful with the safe evacuation of all the 41 trapped workers. The men were working on the construction of the Silkyara tunnel when a portion collapsed, trapping them inside on November 12, 2023. Since then, multiple strategies and evacuation methods were employed to rescue them, but the Himalayan terrain kept posing challenges, thwarting ways and means deployed from time to time to enable the rescue. International experts were flown in to aid the process. The Augur machine brought from overseas developed a snag in the tunnel in the process of horizontal drilling and became useless. Multiple agency- led rescue operations were being carried on round-the-clock. Ambulances and doctors were deployed to attend to the trapped workers the instant they were evacuated. Indian Army, NDRF personnel and other specialist teams reached the site from across the nation to aid operations.
It was a tense, nail-biting phase as countrypeople followed the unfolding of the events over the days with a prayer for the trapped workers.
Eventually, manual rat hole mining experts were entrusted with the responsibility of drilling through the final 10- 12 meters of debris, and they were successful, working relentlessly to achieve their goal.
In the evening hours today, collective efforts were rewarded by the successful evacuation of all the 41 miners. The President, Prime Minister and Home Minister have lauded the grit and patience of the trapped workers, acknowledged the efforts of the rescue team, and expressed relief and happiness at the successful evacuation of the 41 trapped workers. The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami who was present at the site distributed sweets at the tunnel. Local people also joined heartily in the celebrations.
There were impromptu celebrations across the nation in the homes of the trapped men. There was much jubilation at the news. Family members lit diyas and let off fireworks. For them, it was a delayed Diwali as the men had been trapped on November 12,2023, the day the nation was celebrating the Festival of Lights.