The Char Dham all-weather road project is underway in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. However, almost 15 days ago a portion of the under-construction Silkyara-Barkot tunnel collapsed trapping 41 workers inside the tunnel.
Recent reports indicate that the entire operation will take approximately three to four hours. To plan the evacuation, three NDRF teams will enter the tunnel. Support will be given by SDRF. The moment of evacuation will also see the entry of paramedics into the tunnel.
In addition, Rishikesh AIIMS is ready to provide medical assistance. The trauma center and a 41-bed ward are ready. A group of experts in cardiac and mental health, comprising trauma surgeons, is prepared. The Rishikesh AIIMS helipad allows for the simultaneous landing of three helicopters. Critically unwell workers will be evacuated to the AIIMS in Rishikesh.
What happened in Uttarkashi?
On November 12, 2023, Uttarkashi, one of the districts of Uttarakhand, suffered a tunnel collapse. The tunnel crash was the part of Sikyara-Barkot Tunnel under the Char Dham all-weather road project and it trapped 41 workers around 5 a.m. in the morning. The collapsed section is around 200 meters from the tunnel entrance.
After the incident, immediate actions were taken by the National Disaster Response Force, the police, and the State Disaster Response Force. With the help of the drilling equipment and excavators, a rescue mission was started.
After drilling some meters with the drilling equipment, the Auger machine was called, which broke down during the process. Soon after, another American Auger machine of high drilling power was arranged to clear debris and drill vertically from the top of the mountain.
A separate pipeline was also formed to deliver the food to the trapped workers and a separate pipeline for communication. The workers belong to different states of the country, including Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, and more. Families and relatives of the workers have also reached the place.
The rescuers have drilled through 46 meters and need to drill up to 12 meters more to create a passageway. To continue the rescue, the parts of the Auger Machine are also called from Hyderabad, and the blades and parts of the Auger Machine are cleared from the way until this morning, November 27.
What is an Auger Machine?
An Auger Machine is a device and tool used to drill earth horizontally. It contains a cutting head, a flighted drive tube, and the drive mechanism to supply the force to press the auger through the earth. The cutting head pierces the earth and the spoil is brought back to the entry pit along with the auger coil.
How does an Auger Machine work?
The Auger machine bores beneath the earth’s surface which is also known as the jack and bore method. It works by concurrently jacking the casing pipe as the rotating augers help remove the dug soil from the casing. The auger machine is used for installing pipes under railway lines, levies, highways, and in places where soil settlement is a concern.