In its effort to salvage the Silkyara Tunnel project in Uttarkashi, the central government has worked out a plan to first drain out the water that has accumulated on the area where the 41 workers were stuck for 17 days.
Delay in pumping the water can cause more damage to the already excavated portion and now excavation can be carried on only from Barkot side.
Sources said that last week top officials from the Road Transport Ministry, NHIDCL and Navayuga Engineering, the contractor executing the 4.5 km tunnel projected, deliberated on the issue. They added that the contractor informed the government agencies that there is an immediate need to drain out the water to protect the excavation. A number of options were discussed in the meeting, keeping in mind the safety issues.
It is being learnt that as per one of the plans, one worker will be sent through the already laid pipe and he will switch on the motor installed inside the tunnel to drain out the water.
The person who would go inside the tunnel would click a photo after switching on the pump. Ministry officials were very particular that everything must be done with full safety and leaving no chance for anything going wrong. All agencies are on the same page to salvage the project considering the progress and investment made so far.
Sources said the excavation of around 450-500 metre from Barkot, would start after the roadmap gets the go ahead and it would be carried out with maximum safety precautions.
They added that due to the recent mishap, the project timeline has to be extended beyond May 2024. The NHIDCL had earlier extended the deadline. The work on this project had started in July 2018 after the contractor had bagged it, quoting Rs 854 crore.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!