It’s been more than 140 hours and nobody knows how long will it take to rescue the three men who are trapped inside 280 metres tunnel in Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh.
The three men – Satish Tomar, Maniram and Hriday Ram – got trapped inside the tunnel when a portion of it caved on the night of September 12.
Though the two workers are reportedly alive, there is no news of 55-year-old Hirday Ram.
The tunnel caved in due to sudden seepage of excess water. The debris falling from the upper portion of the tunnel blocked the passage and the workers got stuck inside.
The 1200-meter tunnel was being built as part of a four-lane highway project that is expected to vastly improve travel in the hilly terrain.
Clinging on hope, Satish Tomar said:
“We can survive for another 7-8 days…Please keep going.”
A high-resolution digital camera with a microphone was lowered through the 4-inch hole. Cashew nuts, almonds, glucose biscuits and water are also being given to workers through the hole.
A medical team is on standby to monitor their health and a team of nearly two dozen engineers and tunnel experts is working round-the-clock to get them out of the tunnel.
Earlier, rescue teams tried to dig a path by removing boulders, mud and debris. They abandoned that approach yesterday after dry rock gave way to slush, making it difficult to dig.
Now they are trying vertical drilling. A rig used for oil exploration was brought in from Jaipur last night.
A senior district official, Manasi Sahay Thakur, said:
“So far we have managed to drill up to 28 metres. We need to go another 20 metres. We should reach the men in 24 hours.”
At the accident site, family members of the trapped men wait for good news. Satish’s brother, Vinod Tomar, said:
“My brother is a brave man. He can survive any adverse situation. I am confident that he will come out the tunnel safely. However, our family is anxious to see his face.”
Meanwhile, the contractor for the project is being investigated by a special team.