Micro tunneling expert, PMO officials reach at location to monitor situation


On Saturday, Chris Cooper, an expert in microtunnelling, arrived at the Silkyara tunnel incident site to oversee the rescue efforts. Chartered Engineer Chris Cooper has a proven track record of completing major international civil engineering projects, including railways, mining projects, large caverns, metro tunnels, and dams.

Cooper arrived at the scene to oversee the rescue efforts for the forty workers who have been stuck inside the tunnel for the past six days. Cooper is also a consultant for the Rishikesh Karnprayag rail project. Cooper said in an interview with ANI, “At this time, I don’t know anything. I only arrived here last night.”

The Silkyara tunnel site has also been reached by the heavy-duty drilling machine that was supposed to arrive today from Indore. On Saturday, Mangesh Ghildiyal, the deputy secretary of the PMO, and former advisor Bhaskar Khulbe also arrived at the Silkyara tunnel to keep an eye on the situation.

In addition, on Saturday, senior officials will meet with Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to discuss the review of the relief and rescue operations that took place in the Silkyara Tunnel, which is currently under construction on the Uttarkashi-Yamnotri road.

After the rescuers drilled 25 meters into the debris on Saturday, the ongoing drilling operation to reach the 40 trapped workers inside the Silkyara tunnel was put on hold. Anshu Manish Khulko, director of the tunnel construction company National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), told ANI over the phone that the drilling project to free the trapped workers has been put on hold for the time being.

Asked if the drilling work was stopped due to a snag in the machine being used in the rescue operation, Khulko added, “There was no fault in the machine.” He also said the managing director of NHIDCL is expected to reach the incident site on Saturday and will share further details after taking stock of the ongoing rescue work.

Later on Saturday, a second heavy-duty drilling machine that was requested from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore is probably going to arrive at the tunnel site. Early on November 12, the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway’s under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon collapsed. As a component of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Chardham Project, the 4531-meter Silkyara Tunnel will connect the Gangotri and Yamunotri axis beneath the Radi pass area. At a cost of Rs 853.79 crore, NHIDCL is building the tunnel through Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd.