Trapped workers ‘doing yoga’ amid rescue efforts; Relatives hope for ‘good news’ in Silkyara tunnel ordeal

Uttarkashi, Nov 23 (ANI): Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami meets the members of the central agencies and the state administration, who have been continuously conducting rescue operations to safely bring out the workers trapped inside the under-construction Silkyara tunnel, in Uttarkashi on Thursday. A part of the tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi on November 12, trapping 41 workers inside. (ANI Photo)

Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) [India], November 23 (ANI): All 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel are practising yoga and other exercises while rescuers work to create an escape route, according to Jaymal Singh Negi, brother of Gabbar Singh Negi – one of the men stranded for 12 days. Negi also expressed hope for ‘good news’ soon.
On November 12, a section of the under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot collapsed, trapping 41 labourers in debris on the Silkyara side. The trapped workers are in a 2 km-built portion, complete with concrete work for their safety.
Among the trapped labourers, two each are from Uttarakhand and Assam, one from Himachal, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five each from Bihar and Odisha, three from West Bengal, and 15 others are from Jharkhand.
While speaking to ANI, Jaymal Singh Negi mentioned that his brother informed him about the trapped men engaging in yoga and exercises inside the tunnel.
He also advised his brother to continue these activities.
“I advised my brother to keep doing yoga, exercise and walking, and he said yes, we are doing it,” Negi said.
Earlier in the day, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the rescue site. He spoke to Gabbar Singh Negi and another worker, Saba Ahmed, to inquire about their well-being. Dhami updated them on the ongoing rescue operation and prayed for the well-being of all trapped workers.
Rescuers, using an American auger machine, resumed drilling on Tuesday and, by late Wednesday night, drilled through 45 meters of the 60-meter debris stretch blocking the Sikyara side of the tunnel.
Lt General (Rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) likened the rescue operation to a “war” with unpredictable timelines.
“This operation is just like a war situation where one keeps guessing about enemy moves,” he said.
He further mentioned that in this operation ‘Himalayan geology’ is the enemy.
Inspector-General of Police Garhwal Range KS Nagnyal also mentioned that the rescue’s duration is uncertain due to machinery work.
“The attempt at the rescue is in progress and rescue is expected to be carried out very soon. It is machinery work so a stipulated time can’t be decided. The rescue work will go on at night as well,” IG said.
A total of 41 ambulances are stationed at the Silkyara tunnel site, with 31 from ‘108’ and 10 provided by the administration, as informed by Mukesh Nautiyal, the project manager of the Operation 108 Ambulance initiative. 

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