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India: Workers trapped in a Himalayan tunnel for 17 days are released

India: Workers trapped in a Himalayan tunnel for 17 days are released

For seventeen long, endless days, they remained trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the Himalayas. They were surrounded by more than 60 meters of concrete, rock and metal rubble. Now 41 Indian workers have finally returned to… Seeing sunlight.

After more than 400 hours, 41 workers, coming from the poorest parts of India, emerged from the entrance of the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel. They showed up on stretchers, Stunned but thrilled. An amazing and very dangerous rescue and recovery operation that lasted for weeks and faced obstacles and problems. The technique used in the rescue has been identified «Rat hole mining»That is, manually extracting (mouse holes) that have penetrated the aggregate. A primitive method of extracting coal through very small passages Banned in India Because of the high risk of error. In 2014 a ruling was issued National Green Tribunal Which expressly prohibited the use of this practice.

On November 12, workers while building a tunnel In the state of Uttarakhand, northern IndiaThey were flooded with rubble and rubble, which surrounded them and left them with no escape. More than 200 rescue workers were called in, and the army and air force were recruited, along with the National Disaster Management Team. A small water pipe 53 meters long was specially dug for the workers Oxygen, food, water and medicine. Psychiatrists and doctors were out to monitor their health, but their power meant that they were often in good spirits: to spend the time they decided too. To practice yoga and play cricket.

It was lifeguards I tried to get them out Already last week, using a large mechanical drill he was able to overcome almost 50 meters of rubble: shudders and joy have already spread among all the relatives, who have been warned that the rescue operation will take place within a few hours. But about 12 meters from the end, The drill blade broke The machines were taken out. The 12-meter wall of debris that rescuers manually broke down. The workers were then pulled through an escape tube allowing aid to be transported Wheeled stretchers and oxygen tanks Inside the tunnel. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the operation as “a wonderful example of humanity and teamwork.” As soon as they left, the workers were greeted with cheers Screams of joy and wreaths of flowersAs a sign of celebration. A freshly cooked meal of rice with vegetarian potatoes and cauliflower (aloo gobi), unleavened Indian bread (roti), and a plate of legumes (dal) awaits them.

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Ambulances and helicopters were called to take them to a nearby hospital. The 41 workers now appear to be in good health, clearly frail but healthy. They will be given checks worth 100 thousand rupees (about $1,200) and will be allowed to return to their homes and families for approximately twenty days. The tunnel is part of an ambitious project by Prime Minister Modi who wants connectivity Four Hindu pilgrimage sites Through a network of roads. But it is the subject of criticism and concern from environmental groups because, in their opinion, it will lead to more failures in the Himalayan region, which has already become a scene of disaster. Landslides and earthquakes.