Communication with 40 trapped workers in Uttarkashi tunnel established, rescue operations underway. Uttarkashi District Magistrate says all workers are safe inside the tunnel.

A multi-agency operation is being carried out to rescue 40 workers trapped inside a tunnel in Uttarakhand since yesterday morning.

An under-construction tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway in Uttarkashi district partially collapsed at around 5 am yesterday, leaving 40 workers trapped inside.

The rescue operations are being conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) and the police.

A senior official told the Press that all 40 workers are safe and are being supplied oxygen through a pipe. “Everyone is safe, we are in constant touch with the trapped workers,” Prashant Kumar said.

Mr Kumar said that communication has been established with the trapped workers and they have been sent water and food items.

He said that the collapsed portion of the tunnel is located about 200 metres from the entrance and about 20 metres of the slab has been removed so far to open the tunnel.

“The team is removing the debris using excavators and other heavy machines,” he said.

The tunnel is meant to connect Silkyara to Dandalgaon in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi. It is being built under the Char Dham Road Project and aims to reduce the journey from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri Dham by 26 kilometres.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami yesterday said that he has been briefed about the rescue operation. “I have been in contact with the officials from the time I got to know about the incident. NDRF and SDRF are at the spot. We pray to God for the safe return of everybody,” he said.