Neeraj Khairwal, the secretary to the Uttarakhand government and nodal officer for the Silkyara rescue operation, stated in a press briefing on Tuesday that the rescuers hope to evacuate the trapped laborers as soon as possible if there are no more obstacles found.
Addressing the media at the tunnel site, Neeraj Khairwal said, “As of now, we have pushed 55.3 metres of the pipe. This includes clearing of the rubble as well as laying the pipe. Only a little more distance remains. It might be somewhere between 57-59 metres.”
“It might take a few more hours if there are no more hurdles. By evening we are hoping. Let’s pray and hope for the best,” he added.
Mahmood Ahmad, Managing Director of National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), reported that of the 86 meters required for vertical drilling, 44 meters have been completed. He also stated that all fronts of operations are proceeding equally.
“Vertical drilling is being done by SJVNL; drilling up to 44 metres out of the total 86 metres is complete. THDC executed 7th blast today. So, we gained another 1.5 metres. Work is ongoing, we have not stopped any of our various options,” he said.
“As far as horizontal drilling through the debris is concerned, the one being done inside the tunnel is complete up to 55.3 metres. We are doing this through manual excavation. After that, we do de-mucking. Pipe pushing follows this. Perhaps we will need 5-6 metres more. We are now pushing in smaller lengthened pipes. We are hoping for good news by late evening,” he added.