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Workers trapped in collapsed tunnel close to being rescued

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh): Two workers struck in a collapsed tunnel for over 180 hours in Himachal Pradesh are close to being evacuated by resuers, officials said on Sunday.

Photo credit: indianexpress.com
Photo credit: indianexpress.com

The evacuation is likely to be completed by Sunday evening.

“We are awaiting the completion of the shaft. Once it’s done, our men will reach the spot 42 metres beneath the ground to rescue the workers,” Jaideep Singh, commanding officer of the National Disaster Response Force, told IANS.

He said a 42-metre deep vertical shaft had been dug.

“Just one metre of digging is left. Once it’s over, we will be in a position to reach the tunnel roof,” he said.

“If conditions remain favourable, we are hopeful of evacuating the two workers and to trace the third one by today evening,” a beaming Singh said.

An official involved in the digging operation said making a passage through the well-designed reinforced concrete structure, that too with a web of 32 mm rods, would be a Herculean task.

Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay Thakur said they were in regular touch with the two trapped workers – Mani Ram and Tomar – through a microphone linked with a webcam.

However, the whereabouts of the third worker, Hirdya Ram, are not known.

Of the 1.2-km proposed tunnel of the Kiratpur-Manali expressway road project, 275 metres was excavated till disaster struck on September 12, an official source said.

The contract for tunnel laying, involving an outlay of Rs.82 crore, has been assigned to the Chandigarh-based Himalayan Construction Co, whose workers, belonging to the hill state, are trapped.

With inputs from IANS

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Heavy Snowfall Expected Across Himachal Pradesh

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 0.6 degree in Manali and 2.8 degrees in Dharamsala

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Moderate to heavy snowfall may occur across Himachal Pradesh in the next one-two days, the Met Office said on Wednesday.

Residents and tourists have been advised not to venture in the high hills as snapping of road links are high.

The supply of essential commodities and transportation of people may get hampered in remote areas of the state, a government official told IANS.

Hills of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur, Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts are likely to experience moderate to heavy snowfall from January 4-6, an official of the meteorological office here told IANS.

He said the western disturbances — storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — are likely to remain active in the region till January 9.

Avoid travelling as snow may block Himachal roads.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie and Manali are likely to have light to moderate spells of snowfall, he added.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw mild snowfall. It recorded a low of minus 3.4 degree Celsius.

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Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus 4.6 degree.

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 0.6 degree in Manali and 2.8 degrees in Dharamsala. (IANS)